A rocker at heart, bookworm and passionate seiyuu, Soma Saito has risen from the unknown kid everyone doubted would make it in the seiyuu business back in 2013, to the man media, fans and music specialists are raving about.
Still trailing carefully in the seiyuu industry, Saito has been steadily growing in popularity and getting more, deserved exposure since 2014. We take a look at the career of one of the hottest rising stars in the seiyuu and music industries, Soma Saito.
Tempo estimado de leitura: 145 minutos
BORN: April 22, 1991
OCCUPATION: seiyuu, singer, songwriter, author, TV show MC, radio personality
HEIGHT: 169,6 cm
A note, this article was written in 2018 and is currently undergoing a soft update.
Some information below may be dated or not updated.
Soma Saito was born on April 22, 1991 in Kofu, Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan.
He’s the oldest of three siblings. He’s got two younger sisters with whom he’s close (he mentioned on several occasions that, when he lived with his parents, his room would always be open for his sisters to enter at will, even sharing shoujo manga and novels between them).
When Saito made his debut as a seiyuu, he decided to change his family name’s kanji from 齊藤 to 斉藤 because the kanji 齊 was considered too difficult to understand, both its meaning and reading.
Even though he changed the kanji for professional purposes, both names are read in the same way, Saito.
When Saito was in Junior High, he didn’t quite adapt well to the school he was attending and ended up missing it for a long period of time.
During that time, he stayed at home watching anime, reading manga and novels. That first exposure to anime and manga left a spark in him towards being a seiyuu and, at the same time, novels left in him his passion for literature.
He ended up graduating from Oshihara Junior High, then enrolled at Yamanashi Prefectural Kofu Nishi High School.
Saito was dreaming about being a seiyuu, and his parents didn’t seem to object to his idea of becoming one.
He mentions that his parents said that if he wanted to embrace this career, he’d have to shoulder everything about it, failure, successes and expenses related to it (mainly attending seiyuu, dance, acting and variety skills lessons like any other aspiring seiyuu).
He signed up for 2008’s 81 Produce audition as soon as he heard about it.
Known as one of the toughest and pickiest seiyuu agencies, especially when only the winner of those auditions can get signed by the agency (other agencies tend to accept the top 3), 81 Produce was the house for the incredibly talented seiyuu Takahiro Sakurai (now with INTENTION), Tetsuya Kakihara (now with Zynchro), Miki Shinichiro, Wataru Hatano and the rookie, Takuya Eguchi.
The reason as to why Saito chose 81 Produce as the company to audition in is unknown.
For the 2008’s edition, a total of 1,035 people participated. Only 33 went to the final audition to decide who would win and stay under the talent agency.
A teenager coming from Yamanashi and going by the name Soma Saito won the 81 Produce’s yearly 81 Audition in 2008. In the judge panel were veteran seiyuu Tessho Genda. Saito came across Tetsuya Kakihara in that same day.
After winning 81 Produce‘s audition, and now undertaking seiyuu classes, Saito participated in 33rd National High School Comprehensive Cultural Festival in 2009 – during his high school senior year -, ending up winning the Jury Special Award in the reading section.
That was yet another small step on his road towards being a seiyuu. Winning 81 Produce‘s audition and an award at a national recitation competition were just small steps towards his dream of being a seiyuu. Now, he had to develop a solid foundation and improve his skills in order to enter the seiyuu business and thrive.
2010 – 2014
After training at 81 Produce’s Actors Studio for two years, Saito made his official debut as a seiyuu.
But looking at his repertoire, it’s rather confusing as to why there’s not a single role in 2010 and 2012. Well, that’s not strange nor confusing if you know the circumstances behind it.
Why was everything erratic about his career up until 2014?
Long story, short: he moved to Tokyo in 2010 because he got accepted into university, and due to that he was working at two different places to pay for his living expenses.
Juggling studies with work and a career as a seiyuu didn’t seem to work at the time for him so one of those had to stay on hold.
Saito chose to pursue his studies over his seiyuu career up until he entered his senior year.
Saito was accepted in one of the most exclusive and respected universities in Japan, Waseda University.
The private university is known for having 7 Japanese prime ministers as their alumni as well as several well known sportsmen, and it is ranked as one of the best universities in Japan. Saito graduated in 2014. He mentioned in an interview that he ranked among the best students in that year for his major, Literature.
This period of time – 2010 to 2014 – is perfect for everyone to understand how difficult it is to strive and thrive if you want to be a seiyuu and still make sure that if anything goes wrong, you have a safeguard, namely a degree in something.
Winning an audition and being hired to work under a seiyuu talent agency doesn’t mean you’re going to be famous, that is a given. It also doesn’t mean that work will come looking for that aspiring or rookie seiyuu. A rookie seiyuu has to earn it.
For Saito, winning 81 Produce’s audition and being accepted into the talent agency were major steps towards being a seiyuu, but if he wanted to leave a mark in the seiyuu business, he knew he had to work a whole lot.
A debut was a positive step towards it. However, at that time, he was juggling too much – studies, part-time, seiyuu classes and seiyuu work – all while trying to pursue his passions.
Even if it seems crazy, Saito chose his studies over his seiyuu career when everyone would easily say that it was the perfect time for him to make the best and most out of his debut. His career needed to flourish yet he was determined to complete his degree, only later completely devoting himself to being a seiyuu.
That decision makes him a rare case in the seiyuu business. Although there are seiyuu with college degrees – or that attended college – there are few, if none, cases in which a debuted seiyuu went back to continue his studies and then returns to the industry.
It’s not often that you find an aspiring seiyuu graduating from high school and juggling so much in order to pursue his passions – various in Saito‘s case.
Attend college, seiyuu school, work part-time in two jobs (he was working part-time as a bartender to pay for his living expenses and college tuition), study, practice singing alone – because singing, now, more than ever, is a skill required for a seiyuu that aims to be popular -, debuting in the process, accepting and performing several jobs as a seiyuu leaves little to no time to rest, nevermind sleep.
He was doing more than the average seiyuu would do.
Hence early in 2010, he came to the realization that it was impossible to balance all those things and be productive in all of them at the same time.
Deciding to focus on his studies, putting his seiyuu career on hiatus twice (2010 and 2012) is something that a rookie doesn’t dare doing because it’s hard to catch up and stay relevant in the business if you have little to no work during long periods of time.
During this 4 year span, Saito had a mix of secondary and minor roles on Sengoku☆Paradise Kiwami (2011), Pretty Rhythm · Aurora Dream (2011), Inazuma Eleven GO Galaxy (2013), Kill la Kill (2013), Ginga Kikoutai Majestic Prince (2013), Servant × Service (2013), Tokyo Ravens (2013), Non Non Biyori (2013), Pretty rhythm · Rainbow Live (2013), Non Non Biyori (2013), Pokemon Best Wishes! Season 2: Decolora Adventure (2013), My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU (2013) and Nijiiro☆Prism Girl (2013).
2014 – 2016
Ready to put his name on the map
Saito decided, on his senior year in college, to gradually return to the seiyuu industry.
To make sure that he still got what it takes to be a seiyuu, he attended some extra classes at 81 Produce ACTORS studio, even appearing later in a promotional video for that school featuring the class from that year.
Saito returned from hiatus with two important roles that would help shape his career: Tadashi Yamaguchi in Haikyuu (2013) and Twelve in Terror in Resonance (2014).
Tadashi Yamaguchi is part of the main cast in Haikyuu, although he doesn’t get that much spotlight in comparison with the leading duo.
However, Yamaguchi was an instant favorite among the fans of the series. He was pivotal in some instances of the anime series, providing a good insight on the other side of Tsukishima Kei as well as his useful role as a volleyball player.
Saito jokingly claimed during a radio show that due to this role (and the one in the otome game “Possession Magenta”), offers to play other roles that involved shouting and/or acting as a tsundere started coming his way.
On the opposite side is his main role in the psychological thriller, Terror in Resonance.
Regarded as one of the best anime of that season and year, Terror in Resonance impressed with its serious tone and realistic acting – instead of the usual hyped anime kind of acting.
Shinnichiro Watanabe, legendary anime producer behind critically acclaimed classic anime such as Cowboy Bebop and Kids on the Slope, was helming the project.
For Watanabe’s projects he looks for talent or a certain feel instead of the popularity of the seiyuu he casts.
With that being said, Saito, still unknown to a wide majority of anime fans, managed to capture Twelve‘s essence during the audition. scoring this role thanks to his realistic and emotional acting skills. It was the perfect opportunity to impress.
On a first look, Twelve might seem like a jokester but the reality is that he has a contrasting violent and ruthless side.
Throughout the series, it’s easy to understand that he’s a reliable friend with a genius mind and an interesting sense of justice. His interactions with Nine as well as other characters of the series are important to shape the character, showing a broader range of emotions from him.
Saito‘s performance was certainly one to remember – as it was the other main cast’s performances -.
Realism and emotion were required to make the world of Terror in Resonance come to life and Saito was well aware of that – as he later mentioned on a special interview included in one of the DVDs of the series -, this was not a simple anime.
This was an anime that felt like a live action movie or a TV series and the characters were complex, demanding realistic acting. It pulled you in with its believable and relatable storyline and characters.
Twelve is quite possibly one of the best performances in Saito‘s repertoire. The broad range of emotions, his seriousness and top acting skills managed to impress a lot of people at that time – and still do.
These two roles opened the door for what would be Saito‘s first ever leading roles.
First leading roles
The first leading role arrived in 2014. Saito was announced as the lead actor in Akame ga Kill!, in short a shounen anime focused on a band of assassins on a quest to overthrow a corrupt prime minister.
Tatsumi sets out on a journey to make a name for himself as well as earn money for his village, accepting all kinds of jobs in order to accomplish his objective.
Saito had in his hands a character that was kindhearted but, if prompted, also violent.
Although the anime was nowhere near as popular as the manga actually is, it was still a good outlet for him to prove that there’s more to his voice and talent than what people knew him for in Haikyuu and Terror in Resonance.
A year later, during the summer season and after winning his “Best Newcomer” award at the 9th Seiyuu Awards, Saito returned with a leading role on yet another shounen anime.
Rokka no Yusha (2015), fantasy shounen anime, focused on six heroes chosen by the Goddess of Fate in order to stop the Demon God when it revives.
Out of all the main roles Saito has got in his career, this character easily fits as one of the most interesting.
Adlet is dubbed stupid by some of the characters in the series but that doesn’t stop him from finding ways to have fights within his grasp – and weak abilities -, all of that using his craftiness.
Contrary to his role in Akame ga Kill!, Adlet is nowhere close being a powerful character, as a matter of fact, he’s one of the weakest, which strays away from the shounen “overpowering main character” cliché.
The anime ended up being well received in Japan as well as overseas due to its suspense filled plot as well as interesting characters.
Also in the same year, anime season and following the same adventure/shounen pattern was his role as Swallow Cratsvalley in Chaos Dragon: Sekiryuu Seneki (2015).
Despite its rather promising plot, cast and writers helming the project, this anime was a complete disaster.
Swallow proved to be a weak, redundant hero stuck in a story that lacked a good pace, interesting set of characters and a decent plot.
The bad reputation this anime got was enough to make Saito go unnoticed during that whole season as very few people actually bothered to watch this anime.
A season later and there was yet another leading role in Saito‘s ranks: Rem Kaginuki in musical/fantasy/romance anime Dance With Devils (2015). The anime although flawed had a different dynamic and flair than any previous Rejet project that had been greenlit for anime or OVA.
There’s still the traditional plot of the evil guys looking for something rare that the main female character either possesses or is, a war is breaking or ongoing and there’s also a group of bishounens set to attack her by all means necessary, and we have that character that sets itself apart from that group and takes the lead in the romance department and wants to protect her.
Almost all reverse harem clichés: checked.
What made this anime standout – even if just a little bit – was the fact that Rejet handled the mixing of supernatural/romance anime with a musical concept in an interesting way.
The show was praised during 2015’s Fall season for this exact fact. Unfortunately, Rem might be the leading character but there’s little to no character development besides the character’s feelings for the main character.
For those that watched the anime that was a lackluster point. However, for those that played the game, that plot hole was somehow filled.
Now let’s take a look into some noteworthy secondary roles during this 2 year span.
With an oldschool flair, the episodic comedy, slice-of-life anime Kyoukai no Rinne premiered in 2015, spanning a total of 3 seasons (2015 – 2017).
Saito voiced Kain, a shinigami clerk that reveals itself as more uncooperative than useful with the main character due to a certain event in the past.
This comedic role proved to be a nice change of pace from both his serious roles and the generic shounen ones he’d been getting up until then.
The anime might have not sparked interest in many people due to its simplistic, episodic formula with 90’s inspired art, but it was a different addition to Saito‘s repertoire, necessary to display that he can also pull off a different set of roles, in this case comedic ones.
Teito High School’s Taiyou Mukai in Diamond no Ace (2015) is yet another noteworthy mention. The confident pitcher proved to be a problem to deal with due to his technique, Saito‘s performance helped his not so likeable personality come to life incredibly well.
Between 2014 and 2015 he had secondary roles in anime series such as:
- Aldnoah Zero (2014),
- Sidonia no Kishi (2014),
- Bakumatsu Rock (2014),
- Future Card Buddy Fight (2014 – 2017),
- Kaitou Joker (2014),
- Tribe Cool Crew (2014),
- Nourin (2014),
- Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei (2014),
- 12-sai. (2014),
- Tantei Team KZ Jiken Note (2015),
- Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata (2015).
To add to the list he had several supporting roles in Wizard Barristers (2014), Kamigami no Asobi (2014), SUPER SONICO THE ANIMATION(2014), Pokemon XY (2014), Yowamushi Pedal (2014), Lady Jewelpet (2014), Magi: Sinbad no Bouken (2014), Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans (2015 – 2017), Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso (2015), Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? (2015), Yamada-kun to 7-nin no Majo (2015), Ongaku Shoujo (2015) and Plastic Memories (2015).
The weirdest year in his career
2016 was an eventful year with an almost complete balance between the amount of secondary and leading roles for Saito.
He had roles across various anime genres, ranging from seinen to shounen, shoujo, adventure, mecha, slice of life and more.
Some of the anime he was casted in were somehow popular such as Ajin (as Takeshi Kotobuki), D.Gray-man HALLOW (as Tokusa), Arslan Senki: Fuujin Ranbu (as Jimsa), Magi: Sinbad no Bouken (as Vittel), PERSONA5 the Animation -THE DAY BREAKERS- (as Naoya Makigami) and Touken Ranbu Hanamaru (as Tsurumaru Kuninaga).
These roles stood out from the rest during this year, with Saito showcasing improved skills and an impressive range.
As balanced as the amount of leading and secondary roles during this year was, the reality is that Saito‘s secondary roles were more memorable than his leading roles.
One would think that with him as a lead actor in 6 different anime in 2016, some roles and or performances would stand out and perhaps shoot him to fame.
The reality was quite different though.
Most of the anime he was casted in to be the lead actor had flawed premises, confusing plots, uninteresting characters and/or lacked anything truly engaging and memorable that would lead to positive viewer reviews.
Few people remember Saito‘s leading roles in Qualidea Code (as Ichiya Suzaku), Haruchika (as Haruta Kamijou), Bubuki Buranki (as Hiiragi Nono), Hagane Orchestra (as Chris), Divine Gate (as Aoto) and 12-sai.: Chicchana Mune no Tokimeki second season (as Yuuto Takao).
Saito was originally the voice of Yuno in Black Clover. He voiced Yuno in 2016 for a special episode. He was later replaced by Nobunaga Shimazaki in 2017 when an anime adaptation was greenlit.
Among the various secondary roles he scored in 2016, his roles as Corteo in 91 Days and Daichi Saito in WWW.WORKING!! also stood out.
91 Days had a dark, serious tone, bringing a story of revenge and mafia to the table. Corteo was a pivotal character in the series despite only being a secondary one.
On the complete opposite end of the spectrum is WWW.WORKING!!, a comedy and slice-of-life anime.
Saito voiced Daichi Saito, a traumatized bodyguard that ends up working close to Wagnaria’s staff, protecting one of the characters from being killed.
Turns out that Daichi founds himself protecting someone at the same restaurant in which the culprit to his trauma is actually working at. The meeting between the two characters lead to one of the most awkward introductions between characters, with Saito‘s performance shining as Daichi stumbled and slurred on his words.
Other secondary roles include: Nobuhiro Yoshisada in Battery, Oogi Mitsuteru in Shoujo-tachi wa Kouya wo Mezasu, Yukinojou Tachibana in KING OF PRISM and Sei Yuzuriha in Ginga Kikoutai Majestic Prince Movie: Kakusei no Idenshi.
The fright: Tonsil issues
On September 2016, Saito was met with one of the things that seiyuu most worry about: throat or tonsil issues. He could have not disclosed what happened after all – most seiyuu like to keep the details private – but he did disclose them on Voice Newtype No.64, issue in which he was not only the cover boy, but also the main focus of the issue.
He mentioned that he realized his tonsil was swollen while recording for a BL CD.
Because of that and the pain associated to it, he went to the hospital for a checkup. He mentioned hearing the doctors talking behind doors while he was in the waiting room and what was being said frightened him.
The doctors were saying his condition wasn’t normal and he started to fear the worst – to have to abandon the seiyuu industry.
Thankfully, the reason as to why his tonsil had swollen was nothing too serious or that demanded him to leave the seiyuu business. Apparently he didn’t have enough flow of saliva. By the doctor’s initial diagnosis he needed one week of recuperation at home.
After recovering, Saito was already back with multiple schedules under his belt.
2017 – 2018
The Rising Star
Saito‘s popularity skyrocketed in 2017.
Whether it was due to the various 2D idol projects he was a part of at that time, or his debut as a solo artist that gathered the attention of several media outlets that, at that time, were far from taking an interest in covering seiyuu music releases besides the really popular ones – i.e. Mamoru Miyano, Shouta Aoi, OLDCODEX and GRANRODEO -, or even the media that started to label him as a “man who is way too beautiful“, making people more interested in his looks and, of course, in his work, 2017 was the year in which Saito finally started to see his popularity grow exponentially with his efforts finally starting to pay off.
With more leading roles coming his way at the same time that he tried to expand his career to other fields, all eyes were now on him.
One could say that 2017 was a satisfactory year for him however, the tendency for some of his leading roles being lackluster or in lackluster series was still there to hinder a bit his plans to be recognized and popular in the seiyuu industry.
The first couple of months in 2017 and some isolated events during the year weren’t that kind to Saito, at least when it came to gaining recognition through his work as a voice actor in anime.
Anime such as Fuuka (as Makoto Mikasa) and Hand Shakers (as Tazuna Takatsuki) are among the worst released in the past year.
Fuuka was immediately bashed due to its overly ridiculous and predictable plot, on the other hand, Hand Shakers was also criticized for not sticking to its plot/lore. Plot holes, a rather incestuous relationship, among other issues lead to poor reviews.
Even though there were poor reviews for both anime series, Saito‘s acting was still commended in both cases for his acting being the only thing worth watching those for.
Still in the middle of this rough patch in his repertoire, we find his role in DYNAMIC CHORD as Soutaro Haruna.
The anime was met with a lot of criticism due to lazy animation, lack of plot – and if there was one, it was far from being related to the original stories for each band.
Soutaro wasn’t nowhere near being a main character and even as a secondary character, he felt more like an extra.
Lack of lines and exposure made this character basically invisible to the fans.
If that wasn’t enough, the year closed with the return of Dance with Devils (with a special movie). Saito reprised his role as Rem Kaginuki, yet his role started to feel less like a leading role and more like a supporting one.
As most people that have watched the anime might have noticed, the adaptation focused mainly on Rem‘s route, yet it didn’t disclose anything regarding the character besides its exterior and a glimpse of the character’s true nature.
That issue was somehow solved with the games – from which the movie Dance with Devils-Fortuna- was based on to wrap up each route -, however, according to those that attended the movie screenings, Rem‘s side of the story in Fortuna was sloppily worked as opposed to some secondary characters that received lead character treatment, which bewildered his fans.
And then there’s the plot twist to the movie.
Many voiced their dissatisfaction at the treatment Rejet gave to Rem‘s story, making it sound more like he was voicing a supporting character instead of the main one.
Some worried that Saito had actually prepared himself in vain to reprise all scenes – or at least the main ones according to the game -, only to end up having most of those cut from the movie’s final recording.
Aside from these hiccups, Saito‘s 2017 had some interesting roles across the board. Glenn Radars in Rokudenashi Majutsu Koushi to Akashic Records, Hermes in Kino no Tabi: The Beautiful World – The Animated Series, Casshern in Infini-T Force, Tsurumaru Kuninaga in Katsugeki Touken Ranbu and Tsubasa Okui in TSUKIPRO THE ANIMATION.
Rokudenashi Majutsu Koushi to Akashic Records was adapted from a light novel, airing during the Spring season.
Saito voiced Glenn Radars, a substitute teacher that despite his lazy vibe, is, in fact, a reliable magic teacher and fighter. Only when a certain event occurs it that everyone gets to see just how impressive he is.
The anime adaptation was highly praised by most people, saying that, for a change, a light novel had a solid adaptation.
Most even have asked for a second season and thoroughly praised Saito‘s performance, that ranged from sarcastic to serious seamlessly. However there were some hardcore fans voicing that this series hardly adapted everything correctly or with the correct pacing.
The role as Hermes in Kino no Tabi: The Beautiful World – The Animated Series caught some people off guard.
Saito was in charge of voicing a motorcycle, one that complains a lot to boot. The series is commended on its stunning and unique visuals as well as its unusual concept.
For those fans of oldschool anime, the characters in Infini-T Force are well known to them.
Casshern had its debut in anime in 1973. In 2017, a CGI anime series featuring several popular oldschool heroes was greenlit. Saito was announced as the voice actor for Casshern, one of the most popular characters in this series.
Already a well known and loved character in the Touken Ranbu franchise, Tsurumaru Kuninaga was one of the leading characters in Katsugeki/Touken Ranbu, anime series that premiered in July, 2017.
Completely different in tone in comparison with its predecessor, “Touken Ranbu: Hanamaru“, Katsugeki introduced the fans to an heavy action oriented plot. Saito‘s performance as Tsurumaru exceeded everyone’s expectations, standing out from the rest of the cast with a cool air and poise and even introducing a bit of a comedic touch to the serious anime.
The Fall season kicked off and with it was Saito‘s role as Tsubasa Okui in TSUKIPRO THE ANIMATION brought to the spotlight.
Tsubasa is part of SolidS‘, quartet expert in a mature and electrifying sound. Due to the fact that the anime series focused more on the slice-of-life aspects for its plot/concept/pacing, fans could understand little about Tsubasa’s background or even about SolidS‘ formation, yet, Tsubasa more than often served as a comic relief character (on SolidS’ side), showing a little bit of his personality.
Other credits in anime in 2017 include: Vatican Kiseki Chousakan (Lauren Di Luca), Jigoku Shoujo, Yoake Tsugeru Lu no Uta, Seikaisuru Kado, Warau Salesman New, Sword Oratoria: Is it Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? On the Side, GRANBLUE FANTASY The Animation and Isekai wa Smartphone to Tomo ni.
2018 kicked off rather quietly with Saito but quickly picked his pace, managing to score 12 main roles in 18 anime series in which he voiced characters during that year.
It seemed like everything was smiling his way and Saito was capitalizing on each and every opportunity he had to branch out, try different, unexpected and challenging roles, some of those iconic.
Of course, his normal set of expected cool type roles was not forgotten.
This was a year of growth and new adventures for him.
During the winter season he voiced Yuu Mizuno in the slice-of-life anime, with more of a sales point than actually focusing on a deep storyline, Sanrio Danshi.
Yuu Mizuno might seem like the extroverted type but he is a very caring individual, either for his friends and family. He is part of the “Sanrio Danshi” group that is formed following rather entertaining events. Mizuno serves almost the role as mother of the group but also has his comedic bouts.
Although with a certain lack of depth, taking into account that this was a marketing gimmick anime series for Sanrio, Saito’s performance was solid.
Saito had his take on comedy anime with a thoroughly hilarious performance in the romance / parody anime, Dame x Prince Anime Caravan.
He voiced Luze Selen El Philizar, the purest of characters but also a running gag for the show.
For this role, Saito tapped into the highest vocal register he has ever done for a character. Saito mentioned that it is extremely difficult to pull off that voice tone on the spot.
The most anticipated anime adaptation of 2018 was, undoubtedly, IDOLiSH7.
Based on the story of the best selling rhythm game, IDOLiSH7 was a frame-by-frame adaptation of the ingame story. Saito reprised his role as TRIGGER‘s center, Tenn Kujo, the perfectionist with a heart of gold yet with a twisted personality off stage.
The adaptation was extremely well received by fans of the franchise as well as people that don’t usually fancy idol anime.
The fact that the story is down to earth, mostly a realistic look at the trials and tribulations an idol group goes through before making their big break, the drama behind the scenes between groups, within labels or within their groups. Its human story caught the attention of many people instead of the originally planned female demographic.
In the spring, Saito voiced a loved character of his, Jun Misugi in the reboot of the sports and children anime, Captain Tsubasa.
The role as Jun Misuji was one that he directly auditioned for (even though it’s a supporting character in the first arc).
Saito mentioned in an interview that, as a fan of the original Captain Tsubasa series, he always wanted to voice Misuji, character known for being one of the smartest midfielders in the series, a strategist and a natural-born leader. He was delighted when he knew that he had landed that role.
One of the most important roles in 2018 was his role as Kai Ichinose in Piano no Mori.
The anime was initially praised in Japan, even considered by most anime/entertainment outlets as one of the best anime of the season, however as episodes were released, the odd adaptation of the original material and a rather simplistic animation made the series falter.
Saito mentioned in an interview that he was, in fact, a longtime Piano no Mori fan, having read all volumes of this manga prior to even auditioning for the role.
He was instantly drawn into the unique, rich story and character development and often mentioned that, if the manga ever had an anime adaptation, he’d want to voice Kai Ichinose. That opportunity appeared in front of him when it was announced an anime adaptation back in 2017.
Saito nailed the audition and got the role, fulfilling yet another of his wishes.
Still in the same year, Saito was casted in the mecha anime, SSS.Gridman. He voiced Sho Utsumi, laidback tokusatsu nerd part of the series’ main group of cast.
Before the end of 2018, Saito was back as the leading role in a comedy series. He was casted as Honda-san in the critically acclaimed slice-of-life anime, Gaikotsu Shotenin Honda-san.
From meta jokes to hilarious shenanigans inside the bookstore – trying to explain what is a Yaoi book, speaking dodgy English with a foreigner or trying to grasp why someone would buy a doujinshi with tentacles as its theme -, this anime had no shortage of running gags but it also had its human side, depicting how hectic it is to work at a bookstore in Japan.
This made the series one of the most praised of the season.
Saito’s performance as the usually calm and collected Honda-san that, when prompted, goes in full panic mode while on the job, was something that impressed most people that weren’t ever aware of his work. His range, accents, diction were all on the spotlight in what is one of his most complete performances to date.
Spoilers ahead everyone so, if you skipped BANANA FISH and still intend to watch it (please do, it is a great anime series), please move to the “2019” chapter in this digest and don’t pay attention to this part below.
This character is perhaps the beginning of Saito’s darker iteration in anime. In 2018, Saito was casted in the hit anime, BANANA FISH. However, he was not in the main cast. He was not a good character, even with those grey zones present in most characters in the series.
He was the one that ended it all, Lao Yuen Tai. Saito kicked off his bout as a villain with this role, perfectly performed in a way that, for those that haven’t read the original manga, came as a surprise by the end of the series.
Ruthless and with no respect for Ash’s power, Lao Yuen Tai was one of the first characters – in the ally group – to openly contest him. And that premise loomed over the series during its later half.
For this character Saito went for his lower register to match Lao’s imposing build. His acting and how pivotal he was in the final blow made people openly hate on the character and – a normal consequence when delusional fans are around – hate on Saito himself for voicing such a hated character in the series.
Interestingly enough, if you are able to hate a character with all your guts it often means that the voice actor is doing a pretty darn good job with their acting.
Other anime he voiced characters in included: POP TEAM EPIC, Zoku Touken Ranbu: Hanamaru, Infini-T Force, Caligula, Inazuma Eleven: Ares no Tenbin, Future Card Shin Buddyfight, Layton Mystery Tanteisha: Katri no Nazotoki File, Tsukumogami Kashimasu, between many others.
Going darker while avoiding being typecasted
It is no secret that Soma Saito has been trying to dodge being typecasted as cool type, “ikemen” characters for most of his career.
In several occasions – interviews, radio, seiyuu events – he expressed his wish to voice twisted characters, villains, anti-heroes, and straight up maniacs, all to show that he is much more than looks and a good voice – he is first and foremost, a talented voice actor.
This is, quite possibly, a reaction of his after feeling “labeled” by the media for his looks and or for his success as a singer.
Although, up until now, Saito had managed to voice anti-heroes in several occasions, he wanted to go darker. He showed that he wanted to push boundaries, to break stereotypes about himself and or his voice. Every move he makes in the industry – the characters he voices, the anime he auditions for -, all show that he is working relentlessly on his repertoire. He wants to be respected as a voice actor.
And that was exactly what Saito tried to do starting from 2019.
His stand out role of the year was in JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken Part 5: Ougon no Kaze, series part of the cult franchise JoJo Bizarre Adventure that premiered in 2018. Saito’s first appearance on the series was already in 2019, later in the season.
Saito was offered to audition for the leading role as Giorno Giovanna (that ended up being voiced by Kensho Ono) but since he wasn’t able to pull off one of the lines during his audition, he tried out voicing Doppio and the rest is history.
The maniac, mental Doppio was a big departure from Saito’s usual quieter, cool and collected roles. Doppio‘s intimidating and unpredictable behavior were captured to perfection by Saito, leaving longtime fans of the franchise more than impressed.
He grasped the unrest inside Doppio’s head, he grasped the madness within himself and delivered a masterful performance.
It is rumored that, to this day, people still hear his maddening “turururu” every time they receive a call.
The following section has spoilers for the anime, revisions. If you still haven’t watched it and are planning to do it, please skip this section as this spoiler basically breaks immersion for you.
Click HERE to skip the following section.
revisions was not a buzzworthy anime but surely Saito’s performance is one to remember.
Saito was casted as Keisaku Asano in the sci-fi, mecha anime, revisions. What followed was one of the most unexpected and exciting plot twists in a series that was going nowhere with its plot midway through.
Once more, Saito was voicing a side-kick character. However, due some interesting circumstances, the character goes from ally to villain to an anti-hero in the span of 3 episodes. Acting wise it was a tricky performance as he had to overlap his acting with Houchuu Ootsuka‘s to create a unique series of events that lead to the big finale.
Even without being the protagonist, Keisaku ended up being more important to the story. He ended up a messiah, sacrificing himself for the greater good, surprisingly having more depth than the 2 protagonists.
You dodged a spoiler, hope you enjoy the rest of the digest.
Ensemble Stars! premiered in 2019 and with it, Saito reprised his roles as the cheeky 2wink twins, Aoi Hinata and Yuta Hinata. The series went on to adapt the game’s main story faithfully, leaving fans of the franchise delighted.
Saito’s dual performance is still something that impresses his fans, much due to the fact of how polarizing the twins are in terms of personality.
He reprised his role as Yukinojo Tachibana in the anime adaptation of KING OF PRISM, KING OF PRISM -Shiny Seven Stars-. The anime had a lukewarm reception and, given the short amount of screentime, Tachibana went under the radar.
Saito went back to voicing straight-laced and quirky characters with his role in the mystery and drama anime, Kabukicho Sherlock.
He was casted as Fuyuto Kyogoku, a stoic detective that ends up not only be a running gag – breaking out of his clean-freak, stoic character whenever he spots his love – but also pivotal later on in the series.
Saito was back to his deep vocal register, putting to good use all the experience he now had in comedy anime – for the quirky parts – as well as drama anime – for the more tense action parts that his character was a part of.
Still in same year he reprised his role as the free-spirited Hermes in the action and comedy anime, Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? II.
As well as nailed the nailed role in Kimimote. He voiced the protagonist, Tokio Furuta, in this school and drama animated movie.
Other anime he voiced characters in 2019 include: BEM, Grimms Notes, Starmyu 3rd Season, Star☆Twinkle Precure, Africa no Salaryman, W’z, Kyou mo Tsuno ga Aru, Uchi no Ko no Tame naraba, Ore wa Moshikashitara Maou mo Taoseru kamo Shirenai., Ahiru no Sora, Ani x Para: Anata no Hero wa Dare desu ka, between many more.
2020 didn’t kick off well for Saito but, starting from the Summer season, it has the makings of a good, solid year for him.
He kicked off the year with a leading role in the game and fantasy anime, Infinte Dendrogram.
He voiced Ray Starling (also known as Reiji Mukudori), the series’ protagonist that does not know when to give up, even in face of adversity. His strong-willed personality makes him overcome obstacles in the story with relative ease.
However, the character has a bit of sensitive side due to previous events in the story, making him more careful around certain types of people.
The anime was not well received, being by many criticized due to how watered down Ray’s personality and backstory were for this adaptation of the original light novel.
Aside from his role in Infinite Dendrogram, Saito returned to reprise his role as Tenn Kujo in IDOLiSH7 Second Beat!, is voicing Isamu Yoshii in Kitsutsuki Tanteidokoro but, so far
Saito is confirmed as part of the cast of Hypnosis Mic – Division Rap Battle – Rhyme Anima, Tatoeba Last Dungeon Mae no Mura no Shounen ga Joban no Machi de Kurasu Youna Monogatari and Skate-Leading☆Stars, anime series set to premiere later on in 2020.
Other anime he’s voiced characters in 2020 include: Drifting Dragons, Darwin’s Game, Appare-Ranman! and Oshi ga Budoukan Ittekuretara Shinu.
His hard work started to be recognized in 2015.
In 2015, at the 9th Seiyuu Awards, Saito won the coveted Rookie/Newcomer voice actor award. Given that he had debuted in 2010, 2015 was the last year he was eligible to win this award (awarded to seiyuu that debuted in past 5 years).
His roles as Tadashi Yamaguchi in Haikyuu and Twelve in Terror in Resonance left a deep impression in the judges. Alongside him in that category were Ryota Osaka and Natsuki Hanae. This award put Saito on the watchlist for most anime producers, earning him more roles than usual up until then.
In 2018, Saito was voted as the Best Voice Actor in the well known Animage Anime Grand Prix awards.
He then repeated the feat in the 2019 edition of Animage Anime Grand Prix awards.
At the 13th Seiyuu Awards in 2019, Saito, as part of the cast of the massively popular hip-hop franchise Hypnosis Mic, won the Singing Award. He, however, did not attend the ceremony.
At the Chil Chil BL Awards 2020, Saito took home the award of Best Seiyuu.
Since he was in high-school, Saito has delved into hosting radio shows. His experience in the area instantly shows whenever he has radio work. Laidback, with good sense of pacing and filled with sassiness, Saito often makes the radio shows he’s in, an entertaining listen.
In 2015, Saito took upon himself the challenge of hosting his own radio show. He was invited to be the 1st seiyuu to helm the ambitious monthly radio project, MAN TWO MONTH RADIO.
MAN TWO MONTH RADIO Saito Soma’s SOmaniac! premiered in 2015 and was the very first show in which Saito was himself, with corners chosen by himself and a pretty laidback script in hand. This was also the radio show in which his manager made fun of Saito’s fear of heights, leading to a hilarious exchange inside the studio.
In 2016, Saito started to host his radio show Fantasy Science, Outrageous Theory!. Saito is well known for his love for the occult, conspiracy theories and urban legends so this radio show presented itself as a place where he could share a bit of his knowledge and, at the same time, learn new things.
Wataru Hatano, his senpai from 81 Produce, co-hosts this radio show, sharing the same love for those themes as his junior. The show airs monthly on Nico Nico.
Earlier in 2018, TS ONE UNITED announced that Soma Saito and Takuya Eguchi had paired up to host their own radio show for their online radio.
The two 81 Produce talents and long time friends hosted Production Eguchi Soma, show that kicked off in late January. The show had a different format from all others mentioned above. For this radio show Saito and Eguchi didn’t share a studio.
Each one has a whole 60 minutes to fill alone, with their recordings being broadcasted interpolated. It’s like having two different radio shows in the same radio show.
For his take on Production Eguchi Soma, Saito played his favorite songs, had a talk and several variety corners in which he answers fans’ concerns, gave them advice or just plain plays around.
The show was exclusive for those owners of TS ONE UNITED’s smartphone app and only worked in Japan.
Earlier in 2018, Saito and Kaito Ishikawa hosted “Saito Soma・Ishikawa Kaito’s Damepuri RADIO“, radio show that was as chaotic, random and fun as the anime series actually ended up being.
This radio show was one of the most anticipated at the start of 2018 due to the fact that not only both seiyuu are popular, but also because it’s the first time the well known close friends were hosting a radio show together.
The show was so popular that soon after it was announced that it was ending – by the 13th episode -, Saito and Ishikawa were immediately paired up for a new radio show.
Saito Soma and Ishikawa Kaito Dame janai radio premiered in April 2018 upon fan request.
The duo paired up once again but now on their own show – although it stems from Dame Prince‘s show and the respective radio show.
The show is as crazy, if not even crazier than the original radio show.
Now, without having to promote the anime series, both take their antics and random stories to a whole new level. The show is the audience leader during its time slot – 23:30 to 24:00- and is one of the most talked about on Twitter. The show still goes strong having recently hit the 100 episodes mark.
In June 2018, Saito started hosting his one-month radio show Saito Soma no Ascension Please♡ (斉藤壮馬のアセンションプリーズ♡) on TS ONE UNITED. The radio show was primarily created to promote his 3rd single, Date.
Saito has a vast repertoire when it comes to radio shows, aside the ones mentioned above he also worked on:
- Nishiyama Koutaro & Saito Soma Happy Radio (2013),
- Eguchi Takuya and Saito Soma Genji Monogatari’s Happy Radio! (2014 – 2015),
- Future Radio Buddy Fight (2014 – 2016),
- Dance with Devils Shirokuen Gakuen The Third Broadcasting Room (2015 – 2016),
- Haruchika~Haruta and Chika’s let’s radio ~ (2015 – 2016),
- Monthly New · Men’s Communications August Issue ~ Monthly · Saito Soma (2015),
- Radio Divine Gate (2015 – 2016), Future Radio Buddy Fight SSS (2016 -),
- Nippon Reading Academy (2013 – 2016),
- 91 Days WEB radio “9 minutes 10 seconds radio” (2016)
- Saito Soma・Ishikawa Kaito’s Damepuri RADIO (2018).
When it comes to drama CDs, he is not the most active seiyuu but he’s starting to rack up more roles since 2015. He often joins the cast of drama CDs that controversial or dark themes.
He excels in drama CDs that have dramatic/tragic stories or unexpected twists in it. If the story is dark, the character is controversial in any way or too complex, there’s a high probability that he’ll audition for the role or be handed the role. At one point he was typecasted for tsundere characters however, as of late he’s been adding different kinds of roles to his repertoire, many of those being completely different from each other.
His performances are filled with passion, with many of the fellow seiyuu that he always brings his professionalism to the table, delivering believable performances to which the listeners can easily connect.
According to 81 Produce’s talents – namely Takuya Eguchi – Saito is considered the talent agency’s “ace” when it comes to working with a dummyhead microphone.
Aside from being a through and through professional, Saito is also a quite often a fan of the projects he’s a part of.
He is a big fan of BL manga, which led to him asking 81 Produce for more roles in this medium.
He often mentions in cast talks that he did like/had read the manga (in the case of him working in the drama CD adaptation) prior to being casted or audition for the role (and even before knowing that that manga would even get an adaptation), due to this, and because he’s too invested in the stories, his performances always go the extra mile.
For example, Kazuyki Okitsu mentioned in the THEO cast talk that Saito got emotional and started crying at one point in the recording, delivering a genuine performance in an emotional scene.
Saito‘s a bigger name in the BL scene than he is in the otome drama CD scene, having even won in 2020 the award of Best Seiyuu at the CHIL CHIL BL AWARDS.
Although credits in both scenes are pretty much even, it’s the BL CDs that he’s in that have drawn attention to him – due to his emotional performances, genuine emotions and how almost all the stories he’s casted in are tragic or have a twist at some point that plays with the listener’s emotions – straying away from clichéd BL tropes.
Akai Ito no Shikko Yuuyo, Utsukushii Kare, given, MODS, CRACK STAR are just some of the BL drama CDs in which Saito delivered heartwrenching performances. In BL CDs he is often paired up with his junior at 81 Produce – Yoshiki Nakajima – as well as Makoto Furukawa.
When it comes to Otome CDs he is often found working for Kadokawa, Otomate Records and Rejet.
In otome CDs his top performance remains as Judah in Dear Vocalist. This is a role that Saito has been playing for a long time – 5 seasons of CDs – and has evolved alongside his skills. The character development and depth plus the music by R.O.N make the franchise also the best one from Rejet.
Dance With Devils, CRAZY CIRCUS, Dear Vocalist, POSSESSION MAGENTA, Majestical cr[L]own, Oresama Residence, Genji Monogatari, Kimi wa Hiniku na Kirakira Boushi, Mofudol, linJewelry Kiss, DOLLS, THEO, Nii-chan, CollarxMalice, Midnight Jiang Shis, Dynamic Chord are just some of the franchises he’s recorded drama CDs for.
When it comes to the gaming industry, Saito is a constant presence.
He has over 90 credits under his belt, in games that range from otome to action games. Year after year, he is casted in otome games – smartphone or other platforms – further solidifying his name as one of the most sought-after in this field.
By having a closer look at his repertoire, it will be easy to notice that this is the field in which Saito has been the most consistent since his debut back in 2010.
His first ever voice acting roles were actually in video games.
Although he’s branched out to different genres such as RPG, otome, action and music/rhythm, Saito is more commonly found voicing characters in female-targeted games.
Rhythm games have been a constant in his repertoire since 2015, most of them are now incredibly popular. I ★ Chu (as Tatsumi Madarao), TSUKIPARA (as Tsubasa Okui), IDOLiSH7 (as Tenn Kujo), Ensemble Stars! (as the Hinata twins) and KING OF PRISM (as Yukinojo Tachibana).
Aoi twins in Ensemble Stars! (2014 -)
Saito joined the cast of Ensemble Stars! in 2014. He had the difficult task of voicing the Aoi twins.
Given the option of voicing both twins with the same tone, Saito decided to make each character unique, with their own voice tone and quirks. The twins are among the most loved characters in the franchise.
Tenn Kujo in IDOLiSH7 (2015 -)
Out of all his roles in games, it’s his role as Tenn Kujo in IDOLiSH7 (2015) that is considered the most popular.
Tenn Kujo is TRIGGER‘s center and main vocal, a perfectionist at heart that, despite his cold and poised looks, is just sassy, likeable and with an immense love for his job, group mates and brother. Throughout the story, Tenn proves himself to be an extremely strong character with a fortitude and ambition that won’t bring him down. His love for his twin brother Riku also stands out as a detail that softens that usual cold demeanor of his.
Tenn is often ranked as the fan favorite character in the franchise and even when it comes to general character rankings, he’s often on top ranks.
Saito is particularly passionate about IDOLiSH7, be it about its story, characters or songs as you can watch from the video above, released in 2016 to promote the game’s 2nd story arc release.
Takuma Haiba in Yumeiro Cast (2016 – 2019)
In 2016, Saito joined the cast of Yumeiro Cast. He voice Takuma Haiba, Genesis co-founder alongside Ryosuke Kuroki (voiced by Makoto Furukawa).
Genesis joined the franchise as the rival theater troupe for Yumeiro Company in which the player works and the main cast is.
Haiba’s professionalism and cold personality stand out on a first encounter however, as story progressed, players got get closer to him and know quirky things about his personality or tastes.
This is one of the very few characters Saito has voiced that has a deep and cold voice tone. Even when it came to singing, Saito kept a faux baritone delivery to not stray away from the character’s voice in the story.
Tsurumaru Kuninaga in Touken Ranbu (2015 -)
If we’re talking about popular characters in Saito’s repertoire Tsurumaru Kuninaga needs to be mentioned.
Among the vast Touken Ranbu (the game) cast that has over 30 seiyuu in its ranks, Tsurumaru quickly earned a massive fanbase. The character has been repeatedly voted as a fan favorite in the franchise and it is quite often found on year-end polls for “favorite characters”.
Some argue that Saito‘s popularity boost in 2017 was due to the popularity of both Tsurumaru Kuninaga as well as IDOLiSH7’s Tenn Kujo.
Soutaro Haruna in DYNAMIC CHORD feat.Liar-S (2015)
Honest, calm and collected, Soutaro Haruna stands out in this game for being the only character with an onee (older sister) vibe. From the androgynous way in which he dresses himself to the way he talks and even his quirk voice tone, Haruna would not seem like a romance prospect, at least by DYNAMIC CHORD‘s standards.
Saito tackled for a first time an onee character in games and his rendition was pretty good. He perfectly grasped the inner battles that Haruna was having and that translated into a solid performance.
Enomoto Mineo in Collar×Malice (2016 and 2018)
One of Saito’s quirkiest characters in video games is undoubtedly the sengoku era-obsessed former special ops police officer, Enomoto Mineo in the popular otome and crime game, Collar×Malice.
Enomoto Mineo is a rather unique character even by Otomate’s standards. He is impulsive and stubborn, has an outside fortitude that hides some weakness and, at the same time is a bit naive and tsundere, which leads to hilarious banter between himself and the main character, regardless if the aim of the player is to romance him or not. His honesty makes it possible to make friends extremely fast.
He is also extremely loud. Saito mentioned on a special Collar×Malice event that he thought he was bothering the rest of the cast by constantly shouting or being loud during recordings.
Rem Kaginuki in Dance with Devils (2016 and 2018)
Saito’s first ever leading role in an otome game was Rem Kaginuki in the otome game, Dance with Devils.
Cool and collected, Rem is the president of the Student Council at Shiko Academy. He might be the only level-headed devil in this game, showing restraint at times that others would not. Slowly, he starts falling for the main character, changing his approach to his original plan in order to protect her.
Gentaro Yumeno in Hypnosis Mic – Alternative Rap Battle – (2020 -)
Although this is one of the most recent roles he’s got in games, Gentaro Yumeno is already a beloved character in the Hypnosis Mic franchise since 2017.
A writer of profession, a persuasive liar for fun and Fling Posse‘s member and lyricist, Gentaro stands out for his dated fashion and matching speech
Despite his dated image – that could lead to think that he would be straight-laced -, Gentaro is actually pretty laidback.
When Fling Posse come across you, the player, he did not react like other crews did, he was actually interested in getting to know the story and was friendly while dissing Dice at any given opportunity.
Other games in which he voiced characters in include:
- SANGOKU CHAOS ~ Mikuni CHAOS ~ (2010),
- Star project (2011),
- Grand Blue Fantasy (2014),
- DAME × PRINCE (2015),
- Future Card Buddy Fight Friendly Explosive Fight! (2015),
- Cafe Cuillere (2015),
- POSSESSION MAGENTA (2015),
- Doraemon Nobita’s Eternal Space Book (2015),
- Tokyo Otome Restaurant (2015),
- LORD of VERMILION ARENA (2015),
- Caligula (2016),
- World of Final Fantasy (2016),
- Ayakashi Musubi (2017),
- CARAVAN STORIES (2017),
- KING OF PRISM Prism Rush! LIVE (2017),
- Knight Blood (2017),
- IDOLiSH7 Twelve Fantasia (2018),
- Fortissimo (2018),
- Caligula Overdose (2018),
- CharadeManiacs (2018),
- Saihate no Babel (2019),
- Ikemen Vampire (2019),
- Black Star -Theater Starless- (2019),
- Lost Archive (2019), Step Ride (2019),
- SD Gundam G Generation (2019),
- Tokyo Debunker (2020),
Since his repertoire in games is rather overwhelming, please refer to his official wikipedia page to get a gist of every game he’s voiced characters in.
Narration / Live reading / Acting
Saito hadn’t gotten much opportunity to do narration for TV shows or even dub foreign movies (he’s only got three credits on this department), however, since then he’s been showing his skills in the area and has mentioned on Junichi Suwabe‘s “Nomi dase! Nomi nakama!” in 2019, that “Anything will do! I’ll even voice GPS’! I really want more work in narration”.
Being the fixed narrator for Takuya Eguchi and Koutaro Nishiyama‘s “Oreiya”, show that has been airing on TOKYO MX since 2016, Saito put not only his narration skills to test but made a great use of the opportunity to showcase what a sassy narrator with a fancy for making fun of others is like behind the mic. Since 2016 he’s also been narrating Planetarium “Seasons ~ Stars falling in the water ~”.
He’s also done some work in the audiobook market. So far he has narrated 5 books: “Kirishima, I quit club activities“, “Sanada Tsuyoshi“, “Deltora Quest“, “Tenchi Shimbun” and “Yamanashi“.
In 2018, Kadokawa partnered up with Saito to promote the novel 青くて痛くて脆い (Aokute Itakute Moroi) by Yoru Sumino.
Mentioned by Saito as one of his favorite things to do in the seiyuu business, live reading is something that he hasn’t done much since his debut. In 2017 he started to embrace more live reading plays.
He wrote on his blog that those are the ones that remind him of those days when he wanted to be a seiyuu. For those that know Saito‘s work in depth, you’ll know that he excels in live reading.
Recitation Play TARO (2017), Nazotoki wa Dinner no Ato de (2017), Maihime jiken – Ougai rondo – (2018), Nippon Reading Academy (2013 – 2016), Reading play Cinderella trial ~ love is red poison ~, Midsummer recitation festival!, are just some of the live reading events he’s participated in.
Acting is far from being his primary or even secondary focus but he’s done some acting work before. Alongside other 81 Produce’s talents, Saito appeared on one of Wataru Hatano‘s music videos as an extra.
In 2017, Saito was announced as part of the guest cast of BADASS PSY-KICKS, stage play created and performed by fellow seiyuu and friend, Subaru Kimura‘s theater troupe. The play ran from 23/02/2018 to 04/03/2018. This was his first ever stage acting gig.
In 2019, Saito and the rest of the cast of Omikuji Yon Kyodai, participated in the special event, Omikuji Yon Kyodai Fuyu no Tantei wa Roast Beef ga Osuki.
The star-studded 81 Produce Project counts in its cast with Wataru Hatano, Koutaro Nishiyama and Shunsuke Takeuchi. Wataru Komada was a guest for the special live reading+ variety event, Omikuji Yon Kyodai Fuyu no Tantei wa Roast Beef ga Osuki.
Soma Saito has been working on this project for a couple of years in collaboration with KIKI-VOICE.
In 2020, Saito joined the cast of the reading play, Kagurazaka Kaikitan “Kai”.
Versatile. Passionate. Creative. For some media outlets he’s even considered as a crafty or genius songwriter.
Saito‘s passion for music dates back to his days as frontman and guitarist for a rock band when he was still a student. Known for his passion for all kinds of music, which opened his horizons to new performances, sonorities and a whole new creative world, Saito has a range and technicality in his performances that impress even fellow seiyuu.
Clean vocals, faux baritone, screamo, rapping, lyrical performances, he is one of the rare skilled vocal chameleons and creative minds in the seiyuu business.
Saito’s an extremely talented tenor that has grown from a man with a bit of lack of confidence in his skills (in the early stages of his career), into the powerful, passionate performer that fans know him for.
Vocally, he has undergone several changes – both in his tone as well as his technique. Since 2010, and especially since 2016, his vocals have matured and much sound deeper in comparison with his register in his debut days. Over the years his tone has evolved and seems to have stabilized into a solid tenor. When it comes to his technique, he’s a completely different performer in comparison with his debut self.
Saito has one of the most versatile registers among male seiyuu – with careers active in singing -, showcasing a wide vocal range that goes from low, growling vocals, screamo (both low and mid-toned), faux baritone to powerful high notes, some of those in an incredibly high key, as well as highly skilled with falsetto. In some of his performances he’s used vibrato but it is something that he won’t commonly add to his performances.
He’s shown that he’s a vocal chameleon, adapting perfectly to the song and persona given to him. Due to his versatility, at times, he’ll sound completely unrecognizable in some songs.
His skills were developed by himself, according to Saito himself in an interview dating back to 2017, he sang in a rock band back when he was in middle school, as well as used to freestyle rap with his friends and practiced singing by himself. He didn’t undertake any singing lessons in his career besides the mandatory ones part of 81 ACTOR’S STUDIO curriculum.
Japanese music outlets have, countless times, praised Saito for his unique music sensibility, knowledge as well as his skills and versatility as a songwriter and singer. However, fans have only gotten to hear a glimpse of his talent. It appears that he has more untapped potential in himself.
A solo debut for the books
Fans had been anticipating this news for quite a while.
Now that Saito was starting to be an on-demand seiyuu, it was the right time to make a solo debut. He joined SACRA MUSIC, a division of Sony Music Japan, and made his debut as a solo artist in June 2017 with the single Fish Story.
When promoting this release and on a post on his personal blog, he mentioned that he wanted to rebel “against today’s pop music”, presenting an eclectic and rich sound with three distinct tracks included in the release.
The single ranked high on Oricon daily and earned him his first ever top 10 on Oricon Weekly (9th place).
The monster rookie
Not long after the first single’s release was announced, SACRA MUSIC made yet another announcement: Saito was to return with a second single in September 2017, making the best use of the momentum he got with the first release as well as the hype surrounding him.
Yoake wa mada/Hikari Tatsu Ame was going to be featured as the opening theme for Katsugeki/Touken Ranbu, popular anime stemming from the popular game franchise – Touken Ranbu – in which Saito voiced Tsurumaru Kuninaga, one of the franchise’s most popular characters.
If his debut single ranked high on Oricon, this one ranked even higher in what was a mix of high music quality, newfound popularity, raving reviews, music specialists’ praises and exposure to the masses that watched live the episodes of Katsugeki/Touken Ranbu without skipping the high tension intro credits.
The results were impressive. Saito scored another top 10 on Oricon (7th place on Oricon Weekly) with Yoake wa mada/Hikari Tatsu Ame, breaking every record from his debut and even setting one for all solo male seiyuu. His rookie year as a solo artist ended up being one of setting records among seiyuu.
In December 2017, he started teasing his fans via official twitter account, mentioning that he was working on a “major project”.
Saito wanted to be more involved in the creative process behind his music and, a couple of months later, he announced his comeback to the music industry with Date, single in which he was in charge of lyrics and songwriting for all tracks.
Turning his career around as a singer-songwriter
No one was expecting the impact Date would have upon release or how it would sound with Saito handling every little details about his music.
SACRA MUSIC gave the green light for Saito to take over songwriting for his 3rd single. He took over his solo career, writing lyrics and composing all songs for this single. And by doing that, he strayed further away from pop music.
Saito had a completely different approach to his music and where he wanted to take his solo career to. He embraced his indie-rock and funk roots to craft an outstanding single, praised by Japanese music media outlets such as the alternative rock magazine, SKREAM!.
Saito showed that he isn’t just another “seiyuu turned solo artist” trying to earn extra income by promoting himself as a singer.
He showed that he’s much more than that by displaying his vast knowledge in music, crafty songwriting skills while tapping into a part of his vocal range that, up until now, he hadn’t had the opportunity to showcase.
Saito mentioned in a long interview with Animate TV that his work as a seiyuu – singing as different characters and embracing and adapting to different techniques for each performance -, helped shape and hone his singing skills however, even after two successful single releases, he felt like he still hadn’t found his own “voice”.
With Date, he mentioned that he felt like he’d found a common ground for him, a “voice” of his own, making the performances in Date unlike any performance he’d shown before. It was Soma Saito as himself, not a product of a music label crafted to suit a pre-defined image.
With so many changes to his sound, Date was far from being tailor made for fans of his previous singles. Rock, funk, acoustic replaced pop, rock and electronica, showing a matured artist in Saito.
Date was well received, claiming yet another top 10 spot in Saito‘s career. It ranked at #7 on Oricon Weekly, matching the record set by Yoake wa mada/Hikari Tatsu Ame as his highest charting single.
However, this wasn’t the only chart he topped, as a matter of fact, and this went almost unnoticed by most Japanese seiyuu and music outlets, but Saito was topping almost all major music charts in Japan during the first week of sales of Date.
Saito managed the impossible and scored a #1 on Billboard’s Hot Animation chart, his first ever #1 rank as a solo artist. Additionally, he scored 3 top 10’s including Billboard‘s most competitive charts, Hot 100 and Billboard Top Singles Sales., as well as TOWER RECORDS‘ weekly chart.
A total of 5 top 10’s were enough to label Date as Saito‘s most successful single to date.
A couple of months went by before he started teasing fans on twitter about a “new project”. After teasing his fans, an official announcement was made in November 2018. Saito was to release his 1st full-length album.
quantum stranger, topping charts and setting a new record
quantum stranger impressed music magazines, his fans as well as people that don’t usually follow anime nor seiyuu but have found themselves curious about this release.
The album includes 12 tracks (officially listed) and a special bonus track. Out of those 12 songs, he composed and wrote lyrics to 8 of them, showcasing his songwriting skills in a wide variety of music genres and exploring a variety of themes, all connected to a common theme.
The album was incredibly well received, claiming, upon release, #1 on iTunes’ Japan Album chart in the Anime category, topping Animate’s Anime Chart, ranking at #3 on Billboard’s Top Albums Sales Chart, #4 at Oricon Weekly Album chart, topping iTunes’ Anime Album chart – and TSUTAYA‘s Online Monthly Anime CD sales chart.
quantum stranger sold a total of 24,854 copies in its 1st week of sales.
With this, Saito broke another record among male seiyuu: aside from currently being the only seiyuu with all his solo music releases ranked within Oricon Weekly’s top 10, he’s also the male seiyuu with the most successful first week of sales as a solo artist (and best selling album by a male seiyuu artist), surpassing the previous record holder, Mamoru Miyano’s “M&M THE BEST”.
In 2019, Saito held his first ever solo live. quantum stranger(s) was held at a sold out Maihama Amphitheater in Chiba on 24/02/2019.
For this show, and in a unique fashion, Saito played his entire repertoire up until then released as well as a new take on the hidden track, Penguin Sanatorium.
This one-off live was extremely well received, with Saito showcasing consistency and comfort on stage early on in his performances.
The live later received its release on DVD and Blu-ray, attaining top spots on Oricon Daily and ended up ranking within top 40 on Oricon Weekly’s DVD and Blu-ray chart.
After wrapping up promotions for quantum stranger(s), Saito was now back to work on new material however, as he mentioned later on Dameraji, he was short on material composed by himself, having used most of it in quantum stranger.
Interestingly enough, Saito and his composer and band leader, Saku, headed to the studio during the summer of 2019 to work around Saito’s demos – including piano and guitar work – and polish it into what would be his first EP, my blue vacation.
The EP started off as 2 separate singles that Saito was aiming to release, however, somewhere down in production, both ended up together for a longer release encompassing the themes “dreams” and “reality”.
my blue vacation is a rather peculiar release.
Clearly weaker than the behemoth that is quantum stranger, the EP still showed that Saito was trying to improve his songwriting skills, trying new compositions like in Waltz‘s layered technique – that we’re not that fond of -, bringing skater-punk rock to the frontlines, embarking on alluring compositions in Ringo and Tonight and marking continuity with the promotional track, memento.
The EP was well received, grabbing a spot at #5 with 15,850 copies sold. This marked the completion of yet another solid year for Saito on the charts and sales wise.
It also meant that the end of an era was approaching.
In February 2020, Saito mentioned that he was working on polishing his hidden track, Epilogue, into a mellow track, the end of the 1st phase in his solo career. The end of the concept he’d been riding on for whole 3 years.
Epilogue was released in March 2020 and it was beyond anything previously released by himself. The transformation from the lo-fi, dramatic demo into the emotional Brit-rock ballad we got was jaw dropping and the recording quality was the highest he’s ever had.
The result was Epilogue topping iTunes Alternative chart for almost a week straight while facing tight competition with King Gnu and Panic at the Disco.
The end of an era, the start of another
Saito mentioned on several my blue vacation interviews, and later confirmed with a comment on twitter following the release of Epilogue, that his first era is over and it is time to move on to a different place for the next phase in his solo career.
Whether or not the next phase will show a different sound or a change in his themes explored in the lyrics is something his fans will have to wait to assess.
Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Saito – just like other seiyuu – was in lockdown from April up until June and, according to Natsuki Hanae, had been sending him demos seeking feedback on his work during that time, same thing with the usual victim, Yoshiki Nakajima.
Saito also released a snippet of one of his demos on his official twitter account, a demo that Saito hopes to release still in 2020.
Tenjyou Tenge (2015 -)
Tenjyou Tenge debuted in 2015, part of I-Chu‘s vast unit lineup. The quartet consisting on Soma Saito, Yuki Ono, Kei Minegishi and Ryohei Kimura is known for their traditional Japanese songs with poetic lyrics.
With this lineup, Saito is able to embrace a lower, smoother register, fitting incredibly well with the themes of the songs and instrumentals.
Genesis (2016 – 2019)
Also in 2015, Saito joined the cast of Sega’s musical/rhythm game Yumeiro Cast.
He voiced Takuma Haiba, Genesis‘ chairman. Genesis consist on Makoto Furukawa (leader), Soma Saito, Daisuke Hirakawa, Daiki Yamashita and Kenichi Suzumura.
Just like the game’s flagship theater troupe, Genesis perform some songs – although few in comparison. Their unit song Phantom Rain impressed as soon as fans got to listen to it in-game (back in 2015).
Genesis were keen on their dark electronic pop sound, wrapping it up with a vocal lineup that impresses beyond words.
Soon after announcing the end of distribution of Yumeiro Cast, Lantis announced the release of GENESIS VOCAL ALBUM, best of that included full versions of GENESIS’ iconic Phantom Rain and Dears for Fears, as well as solo songs by all 5 characters including Haiba’s R&B ballad 孤独の城に降る雨よ (Kodoku no shiro ni furu ame yo.).
With the end of distribution of Yumeiro Cast in 2019, the group is in a sort of official disbandment status – the game was recently picked up by a Chinese company and is going to be distributed there so there is no mention on whether the game will be picked up as it is, if the story will keep going or if any of the original cast will return.
SolidS (2015 -)
SolidS started out from songs and a drama CD, then a photo album, live events, culminating on the anime adaptation that aired during 2017’s Fall season.
This group founded in 2015 has grown and evolved over the years and is, since day one, the most popular and best selling group in the Tsukipro – SQ and ALIVE – franchise.
As a group, SolidS have suffered all kinds of changes. The group we now listen to isn’t the same one that debuted back in 2015.
Their sound was completely revamped and suffered multiple changes over the years to what it is right now (originally they donned a drum&bass sound). For those that haven’t been following the group since their debut, the first releases will sound out-of-place or even over the top ridiculous compared with the music they now release.
That is because Tsukipro and John Zeroness, the unit’s composer/producer, were still trying to figure out what would fit the unit and make us say “this sounds just like a typical SolidS song!“.
SolidS completely embraced their “sexy/mature” concept back in early 2016 and setting for a music genre or at least a blend of music genres that is now characteristical of them. Their sound is passionate and fiery, made to excite the listeners and while at it, snatch their hearts.
Even if the unit took their time to find common ground in terms of sound, it wasn’t the only change this unit has suffered.
Saito joined the group with passable singing skills, however, his growth throughout the years flashes through your ears and will impress you.
Just listening to his performance in any of the songs part of their debut single and comparing with, for example, Burny!!, Oka Ranman or Back on Track is enough to understand that he has come a long way.
He improved his singing skills in the span of 3 years, evolving from a consistent role singer that could help the group sound leveled and in tune, to the singer he is today, in charge of high notes, most of the times overshadowing the power-vocalist Natsuki Hanae and even displaying rapping skills on par with Takuya Eguchi‘s iconic ones.
His evolution from a role singer to the one in charge of leading the way for SolidS‘ songs proves that Saito continuously pushes himself further to improve, match his peers and overcome them. Right now he’s one of most complete singers within the group.
The group went on hiatus in June 2018, after Yuichiro Umehara was suddenly diagnosed with an autoimmune disease.
The group didn’t cancel their performance at TSUKIPRO LIVE 2018 SUMMER CARNIVAL in 2018 and performed as a trio instead while rocking Dai (Yuichiro Umehara)’s colors.
As news of Umehara’s recovery surfaced in July, Tsukipro announced the group’s return, resuming their take on the RE:START series.
The group was reunited on stage for SolidS SQP 2019.
All members of SolidS – seiyuu Takuya Eguchi, Soma Saito, Natsuki Hanae, Yuichiro Umehara – attended SolidS SQP 2019, event that counted with live performances, live skits and talk corners.
TRIGGER (2015 -)
Since 2015, Saito is, alongside Wataru Hatano and Takuya Sato, part of TRIGGER, unit from the IDOLiSH7 franchise. Considered by many as one of the most complete 2.5D groups currently in the industry, their teamwork is something that impresses on record and live.
The concepts of “flawed” and “soulless” are not present in their music/performances, making it easily understandable just how much this group has fun performing their songs, their unit as well as their competitive spirit.
There’s a chemistry between all three seiyuu that makes them a unit to anticipate with each comeback, as they keep further improving their performances and quality.
In a group in which strong bass vocals are common, Saito‘s tenor vocals are the spice needed for this unit to standout in the middle of a crowded 2.5D idol market.
The unit debuted with the single “Secret Night” in 2015 and released a music video to the suggestive “Leopard Eyes“.
After a series of successful single releases (physical and digital ones), TRIGGER went a bit under the radar, only to return with new music 11 months later, in August, 2018.
They released the top charting and record setting 1st full-length album REGALITY.
REGALITY is currently the holder of the Highest Ranking album on Oricon by a seiyuu/2.5D unit title.
This feat was all over the news in Japan (Oricon, Billboard, Animate Times and more) as well as overseas, celebrating the rare feat that had never been achieved in the seiyuu business, a #1 on Oricon Weekly.
TRIGGER‘s DAYBREAK INTERLUDE was the chosen track to promote this album, with a music video being released at the same time as the album.
The album has an impressive record on Oricon, staying on the Weekly Charts for 23 weeks straight without leaving the top 100 ranks.
The trio was on the cover of Cool Voice in 2018, issue in which they shared their thoughts on the series, the success of REGALITY, expectations for the first live event (that took place at Met Life Dome in July, 2018) as well as their thoughts on the on-going anime series.
This was the first time the trio promoted (physically) as TRIGGER with their names not the characters’, officially transforming this unit from a 2D idol to a 2.5D idol group.
Still in the same year, TRIGGER released their second single Heavenly Visitor / DIAMOND FUSION, another single that entered top 10 on Oricon Weekly.
TRIGGER are one of the few 2.5D units to have all their singles/albums rank within top 10 on Oricon Weekly.
TRIGGER performed live for the first time on Road to Infinity (held on 07/07/2018 and 08/07/2018). Their performances were among the most anticipated, especially because fans were eager to see how their music would translate to the live performance itself – with singing and dancing in the mix.
The members mentioned that they’d practiced at late nights due to their schedules not matching during any other time.
Saito mentioned on Dameraji a couple of weeks before the live that he was worried about dancing because it was not his strongest suit. But when the live performance came, although far from perfect, Saito showed his hard work, translating into a not so comfortable yet passable dancing and rock solid vocals that held the group up high.
The group was interviewed in late 2018 and early 2019 about IDOLiSH7 Vibrato (videos with English subtitles provided by Namco Bandai).
A special behind the scenes on the series, the recording and the Saito’s input on Tenn Kujo.
TRIGGER presented themselves to their fans in 2019 at IDOLiSH7 REUNION Live that took place at MetLife Dome in Saitama on 06/07/2019 and 07/07/2019.
Aside from their hit songs, DIAMOND FUSION, DAYBREAK INTERLUDE, Leopard Eyes, In the meantime and Negai wa shine on the sea!, the talented trio debuted their newest song, Crescent Rise with a powerful stage performance + exclusive music video reveal.
2wink (2015 -)
2wink are part of the Ensemble Stars!‘s universe since 2015. Saito is in charge of voicing the Hinata twins.
When it comes to the performances, he was given by the producers the option of voicing and singing as both twins with just one tone – to make it easier for him to perform -, or have a distinct tone for each of the twins, hence changing completely how the duo sounds.
Saito chose the later. Aoi and Yuta sound completely different and on record, the performances are distinct and nothing alike what he has been doing in other 2.5D idol projects.
2wink‘s songs are known to being upbeat and playful, most of them resorting to heavy synth based instrumentals. Since 2015, the unit has released 3 singles part of the Ensemble Stars! unit song CD series.
Up until now, 2wink are the only unit that so far hasn’t performed on stage nor appeared in a single variety/fan meeting event.
MEDICODE (2015 -)
This is the iconic moment when everyone got to listen to Saito rolling his R’s or even showcasing his screamo skills. MEDICODE, visual-kei band part of the FlyMe project, collaboration between seiyuu and visual-kei artists, might haven’t been the most buzzworthy project with him helming it, but it sure is a pearl.
The band debuted in 2015 with “CARMA“, single that right from the bat left everyone in awe.
It was Saito performing visual-kei rock songs – a first time for his fans. And he was rolling his R’s, a bit like how the gazettE’s Ruki does (that Kansai quirk), to top it all, he was doing screamo parts, something that was unexpected of him.
The band went on hiatus in the same year they debuted, only making a comeback later in 2017 with the second single “GABBY“, single that changed a bit the gears for MEDICODE, embracing a dramatic rock sound.
But the sound wasn’t the only thing that changed with this single, Saito was almost unrecognizable.
For “ROSA“, second track included with the single “GABBY“, his singing tone was completely different from anything he’d showed until then. He embraced a deeper, vibrato-ed tone, a register that he seldom uses.
According to Saito, “ROSA” was one of the toughest songs for him to record, taking a bit over 5 hours for him to successfully complete the performance.
PENTACLE★ (2015 -)
Created with the main cast of Dance With Devils, Soma Saito, Wataru Hatano, Subaru Kimura, Kondo Takashi and Daisuke Hirakawa – and recently Tatsuhisa Suzuki -, PENTACLE★ released several singles featured in the anime series as well as the games.
So far the unit released the singles “Mademo★iselle“ (2015), “覚醒のAir starring PENTACLE★” (2015), “BL(U)CK BASIS” (2016) and “光れCAROL“ (2018).
Dear Vocalist: Judah (2016 -)
In 2016, Saito joined the cast of Dear Vocalist, drama + music CD series created by Rejet.
He voices Judah, Kagaribi’s vocalist known being a music genius with a short temper. With music composed by R.O.N, Judah’s songs count with punk-rock inspired guitar riffs, powerful, bass-driven drums and driving bass lines.
He’s one of the rock purists in the franchise. Even if the character and its sound are purely rock-driven, for his Xtreme entry in 2018, fans got to listen to two different things in his repertoire: a ballad and a song with synths and other electronica elements.
So far Saito has performed for 4 singles – all part of the respective 4 drama CDs released up until now – and 1 Best of album.
Saito performed live for the first time as Judah on CR69Fes.2018「Dead or Alive」, Dear Vocalist‘s first ever live show held at Akasaka Blitz in Tokyo on 30/09/2018. For this live he performed the songs エスカレーション! (Escalation), NEW WORLD and Can’t Say goodbye.
Fling Posse (2017 -)
In 2017, Soma Saito was one of the big names announced for the ambitious seiyuu x rap project, Hypnosis Mic. Saito is part of the bubbly yet extremely dark and emo crew, Fling Posse, representing Shibuya.
Although it took some time for the crew to garner popularity, truth is that today, Fling Posse are a beloved crew in this franchise.
Saito’s fans were already aware of his rap game before he joined the project so it came as no surprised at that time. Not only he is an active rapper for SolidS, but he also nailed a impressive freestyle rap as a punishment on Ensemble Stars!’s nico nico show hosted by Shintaro Asanuma back in 2015.
Saito has always been a fan of rap and hip-hop, practicing alone, as well as with friends, for years his freestyle rapping skills, improving his speed and clean diction. His performance – alike most of the performances by seiyuu part of this franchise – was praised by some of Japan’s most popular rappers and producers that worked closely with Evil Line Records for some of the franchise’s releases.
With the cast including Yusuke Shirai (as Ramuda), Soma Saito (as Gentaro) and Yukihiro Nozuyama (as Dice), the crew stood out in the middle of tough looking, tough sounding or intimidating crews. Their bubbly sound, mixing pop with rap made their music easier to rap and hip-hop newcomers but wasn’t exactly what a hip-hop head would fancy.
Things however changed in 2019 when the crew released the heart-wrenching Stella.
Since then, the group has maintained their consistency, releasing relevant tracks that show that, behind that happy-go-lucky cover are 3 fragile members, all dealing with dark issues.
Fling Posse’s 1st release was in 2017 with Fling Posse -F.P.S.M-. The single showcased a bubbly group with some rather dark lyrics and undertones going on.
In 2017, with Fling Posse, we got to see more of his potential as a rapper. He performed Scenario Liar, song that had an introspective feel. It felt like listening to a story unfold through Saito‘s flowy and steady rapping.
The performance demanded rapping, rhythm, good pacing and, to top it all, good control over his high notes because the chorus sections were made for that. Although the song ended up being somewhat uneventful in comparison with the others on that release, it was the first proper taste fans got of Saito‘s rapping skills in an exclusively rap environment.
After the release of the introductory singles for each crew, Hypnosis Mic kicked off their 1st Battle Season series.
Fling Posse faced Matenro in the second round in Fling Posse VS Matenro.
This was a losing battle for Fling Posse as Matenro had already established themselves as the most popular crew in the franchise.
BATTLE BATTLE BATTLE was a clear win for Fling Posse but when it came to the group’s representative songs, Fling Posse came up short with a fancy pop-rap tune in Shibuya Marble Texture -PCCS-.
Fling Posse lost the battle to Matenro and only returned with new music in 2019.
In 2019, the crew released the heart-wrenching Stella, featured in the compilation album, Enter the Hypnosis Microphone.
Stella hit everyone in their feelings, showcasing a broken, battered crew with inner struggles that they want to overcome but still haunt them.
The buzz around Fling Posse started and all eyes were excited about how dark and emotion future releases of theirs would get.
Fling Posse returned in 2020 with Fling Posse Before The 2nd D.R.B. The theme friendship seemed to linger in this release. Each member explored some of their issues in haunting tracks that made this release, Fling Posse‘s best to date.
Soma Saito performed as Gentaro in the bubbly yet pitch-black song, Utena.
For this song, Saito did 3 contrasting things: rap in a slow pace while resorting to his low register – to make casually tell Gentaro’s story -, perform clean singing parts in the chorus resorting to his high register, and tackle fast and incise rap in the intense last verse resorting to his mid-tones.
It was no easy task and, while I initially wondered if he would be able to pull it off on a live setting – it is a difficult song to perform – he aced it on Hypnosis mic- Division Rap Battle – 5th LIVE @ AbemaTV – SIX SHOTS UNTIL THE DOME.
On a live setting, Fling Posse are consistent and surprisingly powerful instead of energetic like their earlier tracks would hint at. The only issue with this crew is how Saito was absent from some of the lives in which the crew performed.
His first performance with Fling Posse was in 2018 for the franchise’s 3rd live. Saito is often following the tempo but, at times, he does his twist on the pacing of the track to match some sort of fanservice line or action he might have prepared to do on stage.
So far the crew has performed live 5 times, although in different contexts.
The first franchise release on Blu-ray and DVD is Hypnosis mic- Division Rap Battle – 4th LIVE @ Osaka, massive live held in 2019 that counted with Buster Bros!!!, MAD TRIGGER CREW, Fling Posse, Matenro and the, then recently announced, Dotsuitare Honpo and Bad Ass Temple.
In 2020, and due to issues with Coronavirus (COVID-19), Hypnosis Mic’s ambitious MetLife Dome live, SIX SHOTS TO THE DOME was cancelled.
Instead, all crews performed on 29/03/2020 on a special broadcast by AbemaTV, Hypnosis mic- Division Rap Battle – 5th LIVE @ AbemaTV – SIX SHOTS UNTIL THE DOME that counted with millions of live views.
In April 2020, a new issue of the popular manga Hypnosis Mic -Division Rap Battle- side F.P & M vol.3 includes a new song, a duet with Dice Arisugawa (CV: Yukihiro Nozuyama) titled Once Upon a Time in Shibuya.
Division All Stars (2017 -)
Hypnosis Mic made sure to create an all star team and impress everyone with it. It was through this group that Saito‘s fans got a first listen of his rap skills.
Division All Stars‘ original lineup consisted on Buster Bros!!!, MAD TRIGGER CREW, Fling Posse and Matenro. In 2019, with the addition of Dotsuitare Honpo and Bad Ass Temple to the franchise, the group now houses all groups.
Their first release was Hypnosis Mic -Division Rap Battle- in 2017. This was the explosive start even before anyone knew how each crew would end up sounding.
The song was an instant hit and brought a massive following from overseas into the project.
In 2018, Division All Stars returned with the electrifying Hypnosis Mic Division Battle Anthem. The success it met was even more than on their debut song.
Now that the project was popular, it was a matter of a couple of days until it hit 1 million views.
In the first 2 songs, Saito caught fans off guard with his rapping skills. Some mentioned that it was rather weird and refreshing at the same time to find his rapping in a more serious and comfortable tone.
Others mentioned that on Division All Stars‘ songs he always brings a spicy, strangely alluring touch to his rapping; one thing is for certain, those that were initially making fun of him when his name was announced as part of Hypnosis Mic surrendered to his talent.
The release also included new songs for each group including the legendary The Dirty Dawg.
Still in the same year, Division All Stars returned with a new take on their debut song, Hypnosis Mic Division Battle Anthem.
After the franchise introduced 2 new units to the franchise, Dotsuitare Honpo and Bad Ass Temple, the classic track got a revamp, thus Hypnosis Mic -Division Rap Battle-+ was released.
In 2020, Division All Stars made their comeback and once again revamping one of their hit songs. Hypnosis Mic -Division Battle Anthem- was revamped, adding Dotsuitare Honpo and Bad Ass Temple into the mix, creating Hypnosis Mic -Division Battle Anthem-＋.
T-Backers (2017 -)
T-Backers is a seiyuu unit created by Saito and that includes Koutaro Nishiyama and Takuya Eguchi. The unit debuted in 2017 with the song “Kachofugetsu”, the official theme song for Saito‘s variety show “Wagokoro wo Kimi Ni”.
NOISE NOVA (2020 -)
In 2020, Soma Saito joined the PERFECTION NOISE franchise as one of NOISE NOVA‘s main vocals and centers, Sena Ichijo.
NOISE NOVA is dubbed as a “dance and vocal unit“ well versed in EDM, rock, hip-hop and ballads.
The group has a double-center formation that takes advantage of the faces of the group and powerful vocalists, Narumi (Shoya Chiba) and Sena (Soma Saito).
In 2020, the franchise counted with 1 single release “True Place” as well as 4 solo CDs (one for each character).
Saito’s character Sena participated in the 2nd solo CD in the franchise “PERFECTION NOISE Vol.2 Ichijo Sena“.
He performed “Turning Point”, an alluring and intimate song with a slow-paced, heavy bass-driven beat at its core.
The chorus is 90% in English – the song itself is 75% in English – and Saito pronounces every single word clearly, erasing any quirks that the Japanese language could have left in his accent.
Sena Ichijo has loads of charisma, a result of Soma Saito’s confident, seductive performance.
Saito is not the type of singer to be a showoff but, for this performance, and as Sena, he shows off confidence in both his skills and his appeal. This is truly one of those performances that you can’t take your eyes – in this case, ears – off of.
In 2021, the PERFECTION NOISE franchise released its first compilation/soundtrack album titled “PERFECTION NOISE Original Soundtrack“.
If there’s something Saito enjoys just like being a seiyuu, watching Italian movies, drinking alcohol or reading, is writing.
Saito mentioned in an interview in 2018 that long before he thought about being a seiyuu, he was aiming to be an author. Although he ended up being a seiyuu, that hasn’t stopped him from writing, be it for his serialization columns for seiyuu magazines, on his blog or even his lyrics.
Over the years he hasn’t stopped writing. Lyrics, serialization corners, even his blog posts in the official ameblo blog. However, he always wanted to write and publish a book.
Going back in time, when Saito was still in high school, he wrote and submitted a short story to a contest and ended up winning an award for it.
He mentioned on his personal blog that the title of his novel had a rather confusing/advanced kanji reading which led to a funny as well as awkward situation when he went to receive his award.
The award’s announcer called him out to the stage, however the name of the short story ended up being wrongly pronounced. Saito mentioned that it was incredibly embarrassing for him as he had to correct the announcer.
At the same time, he brushed off the importance of the award as well as his skills, mentioning that the ceremony had been simple, in a small venue and the award hadn’t been anything special.
After debuting as a seiyuu and getting his name on the map – his award at the 2015’s seiyuu awards might have been crucial for this – Saito started to write special feature columns for several seiyuu magazines.
Saito Soma’s “At Wits’ End” on KIKI-VOICE.jp (online and physical), Saito Soma’s “Healthy, Cultural Bare-minimum Living” on Voice Newtype (physical only), Saito Soma’s “Books in the book” (斉藤壮馬「本の中の本」) published on Seiyuu Men are the three columns he’s currently writing.
In 2018 (June), Voice Newtype made an important announcement: Saito Soma’s “Healthy, Cultural Bare-minimum Living” serialization corner was going to be released as an essay book by the end of the year. And with this, one of Saito’s dreams was fulfilled: to publish a book.
The essay book was released in October 2018 and soon was sold out its 1st and 2nd prints. A 3rd print was issued in December 2018 to supply stores that still had requests for Saito’s “Healthy, Cultural Bare-minimum Living”.
In January 2019, Saito released his first photobook. SOMA SAITO 本にまつわるエトセトラ PHOTO BOOK (SOMA SAITO Hon ni matsuwaru etcetera PHOTO BOOK) was released in collaboration with the seiyuu magazine Seiyuu Men.
The photobook includes a book recommendation feature corner, a “date” themed photo story, unpublished photos, Q&A100 and a long interview.
Since early on in his career, Saito has gotten exposure in variety shows or anime related events.
Early on in his career he was known for his high-tension energy and, at times, loud expressions. Over the years he’s toned down those aspects of his personality and is now more calm and collected – yet still with the same level of friendliness and warmth as before.
He is known for not sparing anything or anyone with his fanservice – which, at times might backfire at him if he is paired up with another seiyuu strong in variety hosting.
Here’s some of the variety appearances of his over the years:
Voice Academia (2013 – as guest episode 9)
When Saito was starting to make his gradual return to the seiyuu business he guested on BS Fuji’s “Voice Academia“, television show focused on promoting rookie seiyuu.
Oha Sta Super Live (2015 – 2016 regular guest)
From April 6, 2015 to April 1, 2016, Saito guested on kid’s show Oha Sta Super Live as OHA Danchou Soma. The show counted at that time with other seiyuu on its regular and guest cast ranks. Among those names were Koichi Yamadera (the main host at that time) and Natsuki Hanae.
It was the first time that Saito was part of a television/variety show’s regular cast.
Due to its nature, the show and Saito‘s role are the basis of several iconic memes.
Animemashite (2015 – co-host)
In 2014, Saito co-hosted TV Tokyo’s Animemashite, show focused on the anime and seiyuu scenes, with fellow seiyuu Toshiki Masuda. The recording was split into two, with a part of each episode focusing on each seiyuu, their likes, ambitions and what was the catalyst for them to enter the business.
The show’s concept allowed the seiyuu to interview each other and then interview other guests – that went there to promote their shows and/or music releases.
Tokyo Otome Restaurant (2015 – guest)
In 2015, Saito guested on Tokyo Otome Restaurant. The show based on the smartphone game (now discontinued) with the same name was hosted by fellow seiyuu Showtaro Morikubo and Natsuki Hanae.
Guests would help out cooking a recipe with given ingredients – without any help at first (they could win hints on how to cook certain ingredients or techniques they needed or simply get more or different ingredients depending on clearing challenges).
Saito guested on the show from April 1, 2015 to December 23, 2015.
Bar SolidS (2015)
Quite possibly one of the most difficult TV show segments to handle, Bar SolidS was marked by frank talk about women, music, dirty jokes and more, all with a drunk SolidS‘ cast back in 2015.
Even after being heavily edited in post-production, the show was borderline rated R (sometimes really rated R thanks to Natsuki Hanae‘s dangerous wordplays).
Saito unveiled on this show his knowledge of alcoholic drinks from his days as bartender – even introducing “Sidecar” to his fellow SolidS members.
Cafe SolidS (2016)
Taking into account that Bar SolidS proved to be almost a disaster – not because it wasn’t a good show, but due to the fact that drunk seiyuu talking about women and rated themes was difficult to handle for the show’s producers -, the second season of SolidS TV show took a quiet and more controlled turn.
Cafe Solids (2016) was alcohol free and focused more on each of the member’s interests in different periods of their lives.
Even without alcohol, the group’s mood was laidback and fun. Saito unveiled on the show that he used to have a rock band in middle school in which he played guitar and sang, and showed everyone his massive love for books.
Oreya (2016 – )
Since the show’s premiere in 2016, Saito is Oreya’s narrator (and even guested on the show), show hosted by fellow seiyuu, friends and 81 Produce talents, Takuya Eguchi and Koutaro Nishiyama.
In 2016, Soma Saito guested alongside Kaito Ishikawa on Kensho Ono’s travel variety show, Tabitomo.
The 3 visited Kawagoe, getting to know the region, participating in quizzes, playing around, shopping and creating items.
Diamond no Ace All Star game II (2016)
In 2016, Saito was invited to play at Diamond no Ace‘s second All Star game. Representing Teito, Saito mentioned that his father always complained that he had an awful timing when batting, however in-game what happened was quite different.
His timing was never once off and hit almost everything that was thrown at him – even if some of his batting led to penalties such as charming the camera or cleaning the mound -, he was, alongside the MVP Tatsuhisa Suzuki, responsible for leading the team to victory in both the semi and finals.
Comic BAR RENTA! (guest – episodes 3 and 4)
In 2017, he guested on Shuuta Morishima‘s Comic BAR RENTA!, show that airs on TOKYO MX. Following the premise of the show, the guest performs alongside the host a short part of a online comic/manga.
Saito Soma no Wagokoro wo Kimi ni (2017 -)
Saito Soma no Wagokoro wo Kimi ni (shortened to SomaKimi) is his first ever TV show MC experience as well as his first own TV show. The announcement was made in July 2017 and the show started airing in September 2017 and finished airing in April 2018.
Natsuki Hanae, Yuichiro Umehara, Subaru Kimura, Kaito Ishikawa, Taku Yashiro and Wataru Hatano, close friends of his guested on the show. The show’s pace and vibe is completely laidback, between visiting shrines, beer theme parks, bonsai museums and tasting local delicacies, this show is known for its slow pace and feel good vibe.
Saito Soma no Wagokoro wo Kimi ni is also house to T-Backers, unit created by Saito and that includes Koutaro Nishiyama and Takuya Eguchi.
The variety show was renewed for a 2nd season in 2019, keeping its original format but bringing out new guests to the show as well as Kaito Ishikawa (that got his 2nd appearance on the show).
Saito Soma no Wagokoro wo Kimi ni Season 2 was released on DVD in 2019.
Junichi Suwabe’s “Nomi dase! Nomi nakama!” (guest in 2019)
Saito guested on Junichi Suwabe‘s laidback variety show “Nomi dase! Nomi nakama!“. Talk about first impressions of each other, what made Saito want to be a seiyuu, thoughts on the Nikukai members, future plans or ambitions, travel and more were explored in the two episodes that aired early in January 2019.
In 2019, Soma Saito guested alongside Takuya Eguchi on Ryohei Kimura‘s Kimuraism.
Alongside Kimura, Saito and Eguchi explored “adult hobbies” such as wearing suits, photography, taking dogs for a walk, playing with airguns and drink wine.
Due to the fact that the three seiyuu are incredibly close Saito is close friends with Kimura for quite a few years; Eguchi is part of Trignal with Kimura and of SolidS with Saito, the vibe around them was incredibly laidback and friendly.
From Kimura and Eguchi mocking Saito’s sudden craving of attention when going for a walk and photoshoot with dogs to praising Eguchi’s long legs and Kimura’s classy style or Saito’s quickness at the shooting range (mounting guns incredibly fast, acing sniper rifle sections – all with a “worrying” broad smile on his face and an “I’ve done it before” prideful remark), viewers could tell how natural they felt around each other.
Saito Soma, Ishikawa Kaito no Damejanai radio “Toriaezu Highball” (2019)
In 2019, Soma Saito and Kaito Ishikawa, hosts of the popular radio show, Dameraji, held a special event.
Saito Soma, Ishikawa Kaito no Damejanai radio “Toriaezu Highball” was held at Grand Prince Hotel New Takanawa in Tokyo on 14/09/2019 and counted with fellow Nikukai member, Taku Yashiro, as their guest.
The event was later bundled up for release on Blu-ray in April 2020.
Seiyuu to yo Asobi 2nd season (2020 as a guest)
After much courting by the hosts and the show’s staff – for over a year -, Soma Saito was finally able to guest on Seiyuu to Yo Asobi‘s Monday broadcast featuring Takuya Eguchi and Hiroki Yasumoto as hosts in January 2020.
For this episode, Saito expressed his frustration for not having free time to attend variety shows and, despite him having made clear that he wanted to guest on this show because of being close friends of Eguchi and Yasumoto, he had to wait until he’d get some downtime in his schedule.
Between funny stories about Saito’s drunken behavior – the famous lack of personal space and declaring his love for everything and everyone – to stories of how they’ve met and grown close or simply by participating in hilarious variety games, this was a broadcast for the ages, the most viewed episode of Seiyuu to Yo Asobi since its inception in 2018.
Saito’s presence in the show was highly anticipated, which led to over 1 million and a half real-time viewers of that episode.
Kitsutsuki Tanteidokoro special talk video (2020)
Loves his job and does everything seriously
He is known for his extreme sense of responsibility and seriousness towards every single role he’s casted in. All roles are important ones and he performs every single one of them as if they were leading roles.
Saito is often praised for his professionalism and diligence.
He’s known as the type of seiyuu that isn’t ashamed of doing BL work and proudly talks about it, he’s also the kind of seiyuu that won’t say “no” to a project as long as he can fit it on his schedule and it goes according to what he likes doing.
But he’s also the type to vent his frustrations with no filter, even if indirectly, when he feels a work of his isn’t doing well or deserved a different treatment, e.g. Dance With Devils – Fortuna back in 2017 (Cool Voice vol.24).
His hobbies include reading, walking, singing, writing, watching movies – foreign, especially French and Italian that he mentioned he watches those with subs in Japanese instead of dubbed -, playing musical instruments (mainly guitar), composing music, cooking – he often lets his fans know about a new recipe he’s working on, ending up sharing the results on his personal blog.
He often mentions the music or movies/series he’s into as well as gives suggestions to his fans based on his experiences. He’s known for being a curious person with lots of interests and pastimes.
Seldom goes to karaoke but when he goes…
On SOmaniac!, Saito received a mail from someone that had a friend that insisted in singing Bon Jovi songs whenever they went to karaoke. He was a bit surprised saying “That’s almost like my recordings for Akame ga Kill!, you’re always screaming!”.
He mentioned that he, on the other side, always sings Maroon 5 and Sting’s songs if he goes to karaoke.
On another episode of the radio show, the subject was brought to the table again. Saito mentioned that he seldom goes to karaoke because he’s got no free time and even whenever he has some, he prefers to go drink with his friends.
Some of his known friends in the seiyuu industry include Kaito Ishikawa, Kensho Ono, Yuma Uchida, Natsuki Hanae, Koutaro Nishiyama, Tetsuya Kakihara, Takuya Eguchi, Subaru Kimura, Yuichiro Umehara, Yoshiki Nakajima, Shuuta Morishima, Ryohei Kimura (he mentioned that they like the same movies and mystery books and hit it off pretty quickly), Wataru Hatano, Takuya Sato, Taku Yashiro, Mark Ishii, Shouta Aoi, Yuya Hirose, Hiroki Yasumoto between many more.
He’s incredibly close with his fellow SolidS’ members as well as close to everyone in TRIGGER. However, the most famous friendship is with Kaito Ishikawa.
Close friends with Kaito Ishikawa
The two have been close friends since Terror in Resonance back in 2014. Ever since then, they have been more than often casted in the same anime and game projects, time and time again showcasing their incredible chemistry whenever there’s an opportunity.
Their friendship is so tight to the point that Ishikawa mentions that one day, before his birthday, he was feeling lonely so he decided to invite Saito for a drive. Saito although stuck with work used his free time to join him for a late-night drive to Odaiba.
When they arrived at Odaiba’s park, they noticed that there were only couples in there and the mood was too romantic. Even so, Ishikawa mentions that going there and walking around the park with Saito was refreshing and that he was glad both had been there.
This story started as a huge rumor in the seiyuu industry in 2015 but was later confirmed by Ishikawa on Kensho Ono’s Tabitomo in 2016 when both were guesting.
They mention each other regularly on radio shows or events and/or attend each other’s radio shows whenever there’s time. If fans doubted their friendship, Kaito even mentioned on “Saito Soma’s Wagokoro wo kimi ni” that he found Saito as his ideal as a person, the one he looks for inspiration.
Saito, Hanae, Eguchi and Umehara tend to get together quite often.
From hanging out at a bar near Saito‘s apartment (even at his flat), to guesting on each other’s shows, narrating or sponsoring each other’s works or just simply mentioning each other and/or working together on the same anime projects, the SolidS members’ friendship is one of the most interesting and well known in the seiyuu business.
A beloved senpai
Soma Saito is well loved as a senpai.
Yusuke Shirai – older than Saito but a junior to Saito since he made a late debut -, Yukihiro Nozuyama and Yuya Hirose are really close to him and have developed a sort of brotherly relationship with him.
Shirai mentioned that Saito is a supportive senpai that he admires whereas Nozuyama mentioned that, within the Hypnosis Mic franchise, he quickly made friends with Saito, even being proud that he was the first one to congratulate Saito in person on his birthday in 2018.
Yuya Hirose is a different case… he sort of worships Saito – in a healthy way.
— 広瀬裕也 (@yuhiro4949) September 15, 2018
Hirose often addresses Saito as “souchan” and hangs out with him quite frequently. The pair started to work closely in IDOLiSH7 – ironically as rivals – but quickly grew closer outside of work.
According to Hirose, Saito is a great friend and even greater senpai, also a bonafide “ikemen”.
In 2020, on Saito’s birthday, he left a congratulatory message on his twitter account followed by words on how Saito is a great listener, helping him out even with private issues of his, how much patience Saito has to deal with his silly conversations and how Saito is an all around great person, thus he admires him.
— 広瀬裕也 (@yuhiro4949) April 21, 2020
— 広瀬裕也 (@yuhiro4949) April 21, 2020
Since his early days in 81 Produce, Saito under the wings of Takuya Eguchi, senpai who dotes a whole lot on him. Eguchi mentioned on Genji Monogatari’s radio show back in 2014 that he thought Saito acted in a rather indecent way, especially when both went together to shop for clothes.
“He might not look like it, but he’s indecent on the inside. The outside is okay, but the inside is a problem!”.
Eguchi explained that whenever both went shopping for clothes, Saito would always start talking comfortably with female store clerks, discussing what fits him best or what they think would suit him best.
As a result, Eguchi mentions that Saito‘s charming behavior sometimes got him discounts on his purchases but annoyed him a whole lot. “Just do your shopping normally! Do you really have to behave like that?”
“He’s my rival!”
Perhaps something that Saito‘s fans don’t know is that he has a friendly rivalry with fellow seiyuu and close friend Natsuki Hanae. During Piano no Mori‘s press event in March, Saito mentioned that both had auditioned for the role of Kai Ichinose.
After the audition Hanae texted him saying that he wasn’t going to lose that role to Saito and that he should prepare himself for the final results, thus acknowledging him as a rival.
As everyone knows, Saito ended up getting the role but he mentioned that Hanae (that got the role as Shuhei Amamiya) not only congratulated him for nailing that main role, but also plans of avenging that by getting the next role from him. Saito wrapped his interview saying they are friendly rivals.
Both Saito and Hanae later confirmed that they acknowledge themselves as rivals, as well as friends.
More recently, in one of Hanae’s gameplay videos featuring Soma Saito, he acted as most fans call the president of Soma Saito’s fanclub, constantly reacting like a fanboy to every whisper, action or whatnot, making Saito laugh throughout his broadcast.
The monster rookie and record setter
On 15 September 2017, Saito set a record among seiyuu. His 2nd single “Yoake wa mada/Hikari Tatsu Ame” sold 18,983 copies on its first week (rank #6 on Oricon daily), earning him the second top 10 on Oricon Weekly chart in his debut year. The single remained for 7 weeks straight on the charts, ultimately selling a bit over 28.000 copies in total.
Saito set the record in the seiyuu business as the only singer (coming from a seiyuu background) that has managed to, during his rookie year, grab not only one but two top 10’s on Oricon Weekly. He’s also the first seiyuu, as a solo artist, to have his debut release rank within top 10 on Oricon Weekly.
His record and successful debut as a solo artist even impressed the members of popular veteran Japanese boyband A.B.C-Z when he guested on their radio show back in November 2017.
A year later, he broke another record, this time around the record of most copies sold in a week for a male seiyuu. The record, previously held by Mamoru Miyano’s “M & M THE BEST” was broken with “quantum stranger“, Saito’s first full-length album that sold an impressive 24,854 copies in its 1st week of sales.
The album would end up selling in total over 28.000 copies.
The lowkey rocker and classical music lover
Saito mentioned on Dear❤Vocalist Entry №3 Judah’s cast talk that he always wanted to be part of a rock band.
That’s an old dream of his that he wants to make true if time allows. On an Ensemble Stars! interview, he mentioned that even though he couldn’t join a music club during his school days, mainly because his high-school didn’t have one, he formed a band with his friends outside of it in which he sang, played the guitar and composed lyrics, performing several times outside of a school context.
The band specialized in cover songs.
He’s mentioned that his favorite classical music composer is Debussy and his all-time favorite artist is Elliot Smith.
His playlist usually includes a lot of American indie rock, acid-jazz, progressive rock, punk rock, metal, visual-kei rock, classic rock, hip-hop, and classical music. Some of his favorite artists include GRAVEPINE, Awesome City Club, Porno Graffiti, Ramones, Base Ball Bear, Maroon 5, Rolling Stones, T-REX, Bump of Chicken, The Doors, Block Party, Libertines, U2 and Marilyn Manson.
Surprisingly good rapper
In 2015, on Bar SolidS, he mentioned that he enjoyed freestyle rapping, saying that he practiced it quite often. However, when prompted for a rap battle with Natsuki Hanae, he mentioned he’d only battle him if he was drunk. Due to his clear avoidance to showcase his rapping skills, fans were curious about whether or not he was joking about his skills.
On Ensemble Stars’ NicoLive “Monthly Ensemble Studio”, hosted by Shintaro Asanuma, Saito managed to draw a punishment that wasn’t what anyone would expect.
Facing this unexpected request, Saito nervously asked if any of the previous guests had drawn that punishment to which Asanuma evaded sarcastically.
Noticing that he couldn’t get away from the punishment as he had been set up, Saito asked for a backing track to avoid any awkwardness during his short performance. Impromptu beatboxing did the trick and what followed caught Asanuma, the show’s staff, and the fans watching the show off guard.
They weren’t expecting him to be that good.
In September 2017, Saito was announced as part of the Rap Battle project “Hypnosis Mic”, part of Fling Posse. He performed “Scenario Liar” resorting to a completely different rapping technique than his usual. The mix of singing, rapping and talking made a story about lies and life materialize.
Actually, back in 2015 on SolidS‘ vol. 3, he rapped for the fast-paced and danceable Chronoah alongside Takuya Eguchi. That was the first glimpse of Saito’s rapping skills that his fans got.
For SolidS’ “Burny!!!”, single released in October 2017, he showcased his rapping skills, shining in the middle of the group with his groovy flow and natural performance.
Saito is not your average Pocari sweat consumer. He mentions that he can tell apart with his eyes closed if the Pocari he’s drinking is from a PET bottle, an aluminum can or powder.
He even added that he can’t live without drinking it thus, the first thing he did when he started to live alone in Tokyo, was to purchase and drink Pocari whenever he wanted.
Used to be a sports guy
On Bar SolidS, Saito said that he was part of his middle school’s basketball team.
He mentioned as well in one of the interviews with Dengeki Online about Ensemble Stars!, that when he was in high school, he’d play soccer with his friends.
Now, he mentions that his only exercise is walking from bookstore to bookstore or visiting shrines.
It’s well known that Saito is an avid reader.
Back in 2014, alongside Toshiki Masuda on Animemashite, he confessed that he has books everywhere around his house. Kaito Ishikawa also confirmed this saying that he has different kinds of books depending on the room you’re in.
Saito is such a bookworm that he purchases his favorite authors’ books in paperback to read while commuting but then purchases the hardcover versions because according to him “those have a different feel that can’t be replicated by the paperback versions”.
On SOmanic!, he said that he takes books with him no matter the place or occasion and is always reading something whenever he has free time. Back in the day when he was a young kid, he preferred to stay at home reading books rather than going to amusement parks or anything of the sort.
Some of his favorite authors include Raymond Carver, Jonathan Carroll, Jorge Luis Borges, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Daniel Alarcón. His all-time favorite author is Takehiko Fukunaga. He reads a little bit of everything but his favorite genres are mystery and sci-fi.
In 2018, Kadokawa partnered up with Saito to promote the novel 青くて痛くて脆い (Aokute Itakute Moroi) by Yoru Sumino.
For their interview, Saito mentioned that he’s the type that when he starts reading something, he won’t stop until he’s finished.
Fear of almost anything
On SOmanic! Radio, Saito surprised everyone by saying that actually, he’s afraid of many things. He’s afraid of horror movies but he’s the type to watch them. The problem for him lies in the aftermath, he can’t help but act strangely and doubt any noises he hears, ultimately leading to him laying on his bed covered and unmovable.
If the issue with horror movies doesn’t seem like much, he kept talking about his fear of heights.
As a kid, he always rejected any outings that involved going to theme parks and ride attractions. He specifically can’t ride on jet coasters or Ferris wheels – if his words weren’t enough for everyone to believe them, a couple of months later, Saito participated in a special treasure hunt at the German village in Tokyo (for the variety DVD Real Treasure Hunt) and unfortunately had to ride the Ferris wheel.
Even with Wataru Hatano (his pair for the game) there trying to soothe his fear, Saito couldn’t help but panically say that they were “too high”. The result was a frightened Saito clutching onto the handrails inside of the ride, refusing to get up or moving around, at least for a couple of minutes. After mustering some courage, he got up and helped Hatano clearing the mission.
On Saito Soma no Wagokoro wo kimi ni, when Natsuki Hanae guested (1st episode), both went up some stairs to visit a Shrine. Midway through, Saito was glued to the railing and couldn’t even dare to look back without loosening his grip on the handrail. The show’s staff noticing that, put a major focus on his weird behavior as they kept climbing the stairs.
Adding to his list of fears is the fear of bugs. He said that ever since he was a kid he has always been afraid of them. He’s not fond of them at all but he’s changed from screaming when he spots one, to simply avoid them quickly and without much fuss.
He’s also mildly afraid of dogs and cats. He mentioned that it’s not that he hates them, it’s just that he can’t get close to them or they scare him. Later, on Dance with Devils’ radio, Saito mentioned that “I’m not good with living things in general“, hence he doesn’t have any pets but instead has a lot of cacti, bonsai and other plants around his house.
He mentioned in one of his articles for his serialization “Healthy, Cultural Bare-minimum Living”, that the simple idea of going to a hospital and getting a checkup gives him chills. He mentioned that up until then (2016), he had seldom needed to visit a hospital, so whenever he now is advised to visit one (be it to monitor his health in general or just his vocal cords since the tonsil incident) he gets chills.
In 2018, during one of the Saito Soma and Ishikawa Kaito Dameraji episodes, Saito mentioned that he had been seriously thinking about piercing his ears however, after thinking about the pain that would be associated with it, he easily gave up on the idea.
On several occasions, he mentioned that whenever he likes something he immediately says it without a filter or care for the consequences. Tetsuya Kakihara was thoroughly shocked to find out this side of him on his radio show back in 2016 (Unisong radio).
He assumed that Saito would be the stereotypical Japanese man and avoid being blunt but he’s quite the opposite.
Saito mentioned that when loves someone he’ll say it directly to that person’s face without hesitation. And that isn’t exclusive to people, he also does it with things he likes, startling people that might be close by and not understand why he’s proclaiming his love for something out of the blue.
Seiyuu role models: Akira Ishida, Koichi Yamadera and Tetsuya Kakihara
In several interviews, he mentioned that he wanted to be a seiyuu because of Akira Ishida‘s as Koyemshi in Bokurano. He’s also cited Koichi Yamadera as an inspiration (on Animemashite), as well as Tetsuya Kakihara.
Saito also said that he respects Tetsuya Kakihara (former 81 Produce seiyuu). His respect for Kakihara is due to the fact that he was one of the few seiyuu supportive of him while he was attending 81 Produce’s Actors seiyuu school, and even when he was auditioning to enter 81 Produce.
He recalls Kakihara saying that he would not forget his name and hoped to meet him at recordings when he got a chance to debut. Time passed and when Saito was casted in the same anime as Kakihara, he was surprised that Kakki came immediately to greet him.
“You made it! I told you I wouldn’t forget about you!”
Saito mentioned that gesture showed just how amazing and caring Kakihara is, he mentioned that he found even more respect for him because of it.
Years later, on Ensemble Stars! monthly show hosted by Shintaro Asanuma, when asked to choose between 2 of his beloved senpai – Tetsuya Kakihara and Wataru Hatano – to have drinks with, Saito chose Kakihara, making even Asanuma’s jaw dropped in disbelief.
“How can you deny your gentle senpai, Wataru Hatano? How?”
On several interviews as well as radio shows, Saito said that he loves reading manga regardless of genre. He mentioned that when he was young, he was a fan of Shounen Jump’s manga as well as he enjoyed reading shoujo and seinen. His love for manga enabled him to have a great time as part of the Broadcasting club at his high-school.
Since there were barely any guys part of that club, he mentioned that through shoujo manga he shortened the distance to his female club mates.
On Gaikotsu Shotenin Honda-san’s radio (October 2018), Saito mentioned that he even reads BL making his co-host for the day, Yuko Sanpei ask him if he is a fudanshi (man that is passionate about BL) to which he replied that he isn’t, he’s just a guy that reads anything as long as the story is good.
Most recently he mentioned that he purchased the whole collection of Slam Dunk and BLEACH manga and has read both in one go. He’s mentioned several times that he is a big fan of both manga.
Saito said on SOmanic! that he hates summer. He’s really sensitive to heat and quickly starts sweating.
During Real Treasure Hunt at the German Village in 2015, Saito struggled with the heat and humidity while traveling in the van with Wataru Hatano and the show’s staff. Japanese summer is a mix of rain, hot weather, and humidity. He finds it annoying hence why he prefers any other season to it.
Refreshing looking guy that was once afraid to look people in the eye
On Myucomi＋Plus (radio show), during his Yoake wa mada/Hikari Tatsu Ame promotions in 2017, the show’s MC mentioned that Saito has refreshing/soothing looks that give off a “rich boy” vibe.
Not long after saying that, the MC concluded that looks can deceive.
As soon as Saito started talking and getting more comfortable with the show, the MC noticed that he is slightly different from his image – “a bit crazy” according to the MC – which immediately tainted that soothing image of his.
Saito said that’s normal about him, adding that people are often surprised to know how he truly is behind his looks and aura.
In a rather old interview, Saito mentioned that his looks right now and his when he was a student are slightly different. Back in the day, he used to be afraid of looking people in the eye so he grew his bangs longer (photo below) than his current, trademark hairstyle.
Ironically, his character in WWW.Working!! had the exact same complex and explanation to vouch for his looks as Saito did when he was younger.
Saito added that he’s the type to worry about his work, preparing everything ahead of time, be it going over his lines multiple times or just play a game ahead of an event that demands it (in order to avoid getting a penalty). Contrary to what most people think, his shaking hands aren’t from being nervous or stressed.
Saito mentioned on a radio show back in 2016 that since middle school he’s got his hands shaking whenever he holds a book, script, or even when he works on his computer.
Sometimes, in auditions, other seiyuu or staffers would come to him asking if he was nervous because of his shaking hands. Saito mentioned that he seldom gets nervous, his hands just naturally shake when holding things.
“I want people to find me sexy”
Saito‘s fans label him as the gentle and cool type that looks artsy and intelligent.
At the same time, the media labels him as currently one of the most handsome in the seiyuu industry, even as “the beautiful guy“. Some television channels have labeled him as 美人過ぎる声優 (beautiful voice actor).
However, Saito begs to differ. He mentioned on A.B.C-Z’s radio show back in 2017 that he’d prefer people to find him sexy instead of someone cool, gentle, or beautiful.
On an episode of Saito Soma and Ishikawa Kaito’s Dameraji (2018), Saito mentioned once again that from now on he wants to be viewed as sexy, which prompted Kaito to make fun of his wish.
One of the most popular BL seiyuu
In 2018, at the BL Awards, Saito was voted as the 5th most popular seiyuu in BL. When it comes to drama CDs, this is the genre he’s most active in and his performances in titles such as “Given” have impressed the fans of the genre.
In the 2020 BL awards, Soma Saito won the award of Best BL seiyuu.
Smart and witty despite denying it
Soma has showed a couple of times just how smart he really is. During the Real Treasure Hunt at the German Village he showed, alongside Wataru Hatano, just how quick witted and smart he is, helping solving some of the riddles in a way that even Hatano was surprised.
Still, on Kensho Ono’s Tabitomo, he said that he might look like the smart type but “Only the characters I voice are intelligent”.
Obsessed with a certain “popular guy” pose
Everything started to make sense by the time Kensho Ono’s Tabitomo was recorded (2015). The famous pose that Saito had been doing up until then – and he still does it with some variations – was explained.
When Ono asked the guests, Kaito Ishikawa and Soma Saito what was the pose that they’d automatically associate with a popular guy, Saito showed everyone his “popular guy” pose.
Since 2013, whenever Saito has to pose for photos, that pose is in 50% of them. However since he shifted his aim from “popular guy” to “sexy guy” that pose is slowly disappearing from his recent photos.
Sadist with an angel’s face
On Haikyuu radio, Saito mentioned that he “likes seeing other people’s terrified face“, hence he loves taking people with him to visit haunted houses as well as he never loses an opportunity to tease others over the smallest of things.
Labels himself as the typical arts and literature guy
Saito mentioned on a special Ensemble Stars! interview that when he was a student, he wasn’t the kind to be loud, ask for attention or the sort. He was independent and was mostly alone at school.
But him being alone didn’t mean people were bullying him or that he didn’t have friends, he mentioned that if he wanted to join a football game, the guys at school would let him join however because he always liked reading more than playing any kind of sports, he’d spend most of his school breaks reading books.
He wanted to join a music club while he was in high school but unfortunately, there was no such club at the school he attended. He then decided to join the Broadcast and Literature clubs. Since he was interested in voice acting, the broadcast club was a good fit for him and the literature club was the right choice for his reading passion.
His passion for books came from his mother reading picture books to him all the time when he was a kid. He fell in love with the stories, that’s when his love for books took over his life completely.
Part of the famous Nikukai group
Soma Saito is part of the famous Nikukai group alongside Yoshiki Nakajima, Kaito Ishikawa, Yuma Uchida, Taku Yashiro, Yuichiro Umehara and Tasuku Hatanaka. This group is not only about eating together and, according to some of the members, the group members like to hang out outside of work and do all kinds of activities together.
According to Saito, on Junichi Suwabe‘s “Nomi dase! Nomi nakama!” in 2019, he considers the members of the Nikukai as his friends, people he can rely on as well as his closest rivals. He mentioned that all members root and support, as well as give tips to each other.
And with this we conclude Soma Saito‘s Seiyuu Digest. In the meantime don’t forget to check past Seiyuu Digests (some of those recently updated) – HERE.
Last updated on 13/05/2021